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Friday, 15 November 2002
Page: 6559


Senator Crossin asked the Minister for Health and Ageing, upon notice, on 16 October 2002:

(1) How many medical services provided a bulk-billing service in the federal electorate of Solomon in each of the following years: (a) 1996; (b) 2001; and (c) 2002.

(2) How many medical services were there in the federal electorate of Solomon in each of the following years: (a) 1996; (b) 2001; and (c) 2002.


Senator Patterson (Minister for Health and Ageing) —The answer to the honourable senator's question is as follows:

(1) Information is not available on individual medical services that utilise bulk billing. However, the number who provided a bulk billing service in the electorate of Solomon in:

(a) 1996; (b) 2001; and (c) 2002 is detailed in the following table:

PERIOD

TOTAL NUMBERS

Bulk billed

All

1996

183

219

2001

200

244

Jan to Jun 2002

194

233

(2) The number of medical services in the federal electorate of Solomon in:

(a) 1996 was 800,540;

(b) 2001 was 860, 351; and

(c) January to June 2002 was 414,234

Notes

The above statistics relate to providers of services on a `fee-for-service' basis in the nominated region, for which Medicare benefits were processed by the Health Insurance Commission in the periods in question.

To the extent that some practitioners have more than one active provider number, there will be some multiple counting of practitioners.

In compiling the data, each practitioner was assigned to his or her principal practice postcode in the respective years, having regard to service volumes. Since some postcodes overlap federal electoral division boundaries, the requested data, by servicing provider postcode, were mapped to electorate using data from the Census of Population and Housing showing the proportion of the population in each postcode in each federal electoral division. Where the principal practice postcode for some practitioners could not be mapped to federal electoral divisions, counts of the practitioners in question have been omitted from the above tables.

Caution should be exercised in interpreting bulk billing statistics by electorate of provider. Since the statistics relate to providers of at least one service for which Medicare benefits were paid and there are a large number of relatively low activity providers under Medicare, some of whom move between active and inactive etc. each year, significant variations in the number of practitioners and the number of practitioners bulk billing can occur from year to year. Similarly, since the statistics on bulk billing relate to providers of at least one bulk billed service, volatility can occur in bulk billing numbers.