Response to issues raised about AIHW data on GP-type presentations to emergency departments

In an article in the Medical Journal of Australia (MJA) this week, research was presented which queried the methodology used by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) for estimating general practice (GP)-type presentations to emergency departments.

The AIHW has a lead role in coordinating and reporting data, including a measure of GP-type presentations to emergency departments, for the COAG National Healthcare Agreement.

The methodology employed by the AIHW is the COAG-endorsed method, and has therefore been agreed by all states and territories.

Information has been published by the AIHW and in COAG's review of the National Healthcare Agreement which acknowledges the requirement for further development and improvement of the method for measuring GP-type presentations to emergency departments.

'The AIHW is currently undertaking work to review the methodology for this indicator, which includes consultation with some of the researchers who contributed to the MJA article,' said AIHW spokesperson Alison Verhoeven.

'Progress on this work includes a recent AIHW workshop which brought together representatives from the primary and tertiary healthcare, consumer and government sectors to discuss and improve the accuracy of the measure.'

The AIHW is a major national agency set up by the Australian Government to provide reliable, regular and relevant information and statistics on Australia's health and welfare.

Canberra, 18 June 2013

Further information: Alison Verhoeven, tel. (02) 6244 1089, mob. 0403 282 501