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Monday, 1 September 2014
Page: 9353

Eye Health

(Question No. 248 and 249)


Dr Southcott asked the Minister for Health, in writing, on 17 July 2014:

Under Medicare in (a) 2011-12, (b) 2012-13, and (c) 2013-14, what number of (i) patients received cataract surgery, and what was the cataract surgery rate, (ii) Indigenous patients received cataract surgery, and what was the cataract surgery rate, (iii) patients were on a waiting list for elective cataract surgery for more than 90 days, and what proportion (as a percentage), (iv) Indigenous patients were on a waiting list for elective cataract surgery for more than 90 days, and what proportion (as a percentage), (v) people with diabetes had a retinal examination within the previous 24 months, and what proportion (as a percentage), (vi) Indigenous patients with diabetes had a retinal examination within the previous 12 months, what proportion (as a percentage), (vii) patients with diabetes received laser treatment for diabetic retinopathy, and what proportion (as a percentage), (viii) number of Indigenous patients with diabetes received laser treatment for diabetic retinopathy, and what proportion (as a percentage), (ix) patients had an eye examination, and what proportion (as a percentage), and (x) Indigenous patients had an eye examination, and what proportion (as a percentage).


Mr Dutton: The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(a) (i) In the 2011-12 financial year 105,398 patients received cataract surgery under Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) item 42702, 0.46 per cent of the Australian population.1

ix. In the 2011-12 financial year 3,259,725 patients received a comprehensive eye examination under MBS item 10900, 14.34 per cent of Australia's population.1

(b) (i) In the 2012-13 financial year 108,335 patients received cataract surgery under MBS item 42702, 0.47 per cent of the Australian population.1

ix. In the 2012-13 financial year 3,347,384 patients received a comprehensive eye examination under MBS item 10900, 14.47 per cent of Australia's population.1

(c) (i) In the 2013-14 financial year 112,033 patients received cataract surgery under MBS item 42702, 0.48 per cent of the Australian population.1

(ix) In the 2013-14 financial year 3,405,394 patients received a comprehensive eye examination under MBS item 10900, 14.47 per cent of Australia's population.1

It is not possible to provide statistical information on the following:

(iii) Medicare data is only available after an eligible service has been provided, claimed from Medicare, and the rebate paid. State and Territory governments are responsible for public hospital elective surgery waiting lists.

(v) It is not possible to identify Medicare services for patients with specific conditions, such as diabetes. This can only be done where there is a specific MBS item for a specific patient group.

(vii) It is not possible to identify Medicare services for patients with specific conditions, such as diabetes. This can only be done where there is a specific MBS item for a specific patient group.

Questions: (ii); (iv); (vi); (viii); and (x), of each a, b and c also cannot be answered. It is not possible to satisfactorily provide answers to the questions about ophthalmology services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. While Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have the option to identify as Indigenous with Medicare, using the Voluntary Indigenous Identifier, the nomination rate is low in older populations. Older people typically have cataract surgery services. Therefore, any estimate of the proportion of services provided to this group would not be reliable. In addition, it is important to note that Medicare data will not capture services provided through other funding sources, including public hospital services.

1 Estimated Resident Population (ERP)

Source: ERP for financial years Prior to 2013-14 based on the ABS catalogue 3101.0 Australian Demographic statistics, table 51 to table 59, released 19 June 2014

ERP for financial year 2013-14; using population figures, based on the ABS catalogue 3222.0 Population Projections, Australia 2012 (base) to 2011, table B1 to table B8, released 26 Nov 2013

National figures include other territories comprising Jervis Bay territory, Christmas Island and CoCos (Keeling) Islands.

Figures in the tables are based on June quarter population.

ERP is used as denominator to calculate statistics for Number of services per capita, benefit paid per capita and patients as percent of population.

Minor variations in per capita statistics might occur compared with the statistics published previously due to the update of ERP figures by the ABS.