Affordability an issue in women’s healthcare

The results of the fifth annual Jean Hailes Women’s Health Survey were launched on Wednesday October 23, 2019, revealing interesting insights into women’s healthcare.

Surveying almost 10,000 women from across Australia the results shine the spotlight on female health concerns, needs and behaviours, highlighting issues such as affordability and discrimination.

“Our findings will be used in many ways and will contribute to the creation of new resources for women and the health professionals who care for them,” said Jean Hailes CEO, David Lloyd.

Affordability a major issue 

Commenting on the survey findings, Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association (AHHA) Acting Chief Executive, Dr Linc Thurecht said: “An alarming one in six women in Australia say cannot afford to see a health professional when they need one – and the same proportion experience discrimination when doing so.”

“Women aged 18-35 found it hardest to afford a health professional – comprising about one in five in this age group.”

Dr Thurecht points to the “gap between the rich and not-so-rich” saying that those who live comfortably can access healthcare as required.

In comparison, Dr Thurecht adds that around 40 per cent of those “just getting by” can’t afford healthcare, while “a staggering 80 per cent” of people “finding it very difficult” can’t “afford to see a health professional when they needed one”.

Discrimination 

Dr Thurecht adds that while experiencing discrimination when accessing healthcare appears to improve with age (“20 per cent in younger age groups to nine per cent for the oldest”), discrimination remains significant among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women.

“For Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women, the proportion who felt discriminated against was around 35 per cent compared with 16 per cent for non-Indigenous women,” Dr Thurecht underscored.

Other survey highlights 

  • 34.6 per cent and 39.4 per cent report to having depression or anxiety, respectively.
  • 42 per cent feel nervous, anxious or an edge nearly every day or at least weekly.
  • Of those aged 18-35, 64.1 per cent report anxiety and 40 per cent report loneliness.
  • More than 50 per cent of women aged 36-65 perceive themselves to be overweight or obese.

“Rates of anxiety and women’s negative perceptions of their bodies are a common theme in our annual survey, something that social media seems to be fuelling,” added the survey’s chief investigator and Head of Research Partnerships and Philanthropy at Jean Hailes, Dr Rachel Mudge.

For further information or to access the survey, visit – jeanhailes.org.au/survey2019

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