NSW health care too costly for some

In a recent survey comparing health care for older patients in eleven countries around the world, NSW has been ranked worst for affordability.

The international survey asked more than 24,000 people from Canada, France, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, the UK, US and Australia, aged 65+ about their views and experiences of their health care system. 1175 of these survey respondents were from NSW.

Although the report shows mixed results, a couple of trends stand out.
A huge 71 per cent of respondents in NSW were happy with the health care they received, however this result was lower than eight of the other countries surveyed. This suggests that while the state's health system is generally performing well, there are barriers to accessing health care, which require attention.

Unaffordability was a running theme for NSW's elderly with 14 per cent of people reporting they skipped medication and consultations for financial reasons. Particularly worrying is the 21 per cent who said that they did not visit a dentist when they need to because of the cost.

High out of pocket costs associated with health care in Australia also act to bar people from the treatment they need. More than one in five (22 per cent) reported spending $1,000 or more in out of pocket health care costs, well behind the top performer France with only 3 per cent.

But it's not all bad news.

NSW was the best performer when it came to co-ordinating care between services, including arrangements for after-hospital treatment plans for chronic conditions and timely medical results.

What is clear is that NSW, a state that is home to more than 1.2 million people over the age of 65 will need to step up its game.