Health

People with disability who experience disability discrimination are almost twice as likely as those who have not to report poorer health. An estimated 1 in 2 (53%) people aged 15 and over with disability who have experienced disability discrimination in the last year rated their health as fair or poor, compared with 1 in 3 (33%) who had not (Figure 1).

People with disability who experience disability discrimination are more than twice as likely as those who have not to have high or very high levels of psychological distress. An estimated 63% of people aged 18 and over with disability who have experienced disability discrimination in the last year have a high or very high level of psychological distress, compared with 27% who had not (Figure 1).

Experiencing discrimination may also result in people with disability avoiding medical facilities. An estimated 1 in 9 (11% or 113,000) aged 15 and over with disability avoided medical facilities in the last year. About 1 in 3 (36% or 41,000) of this group experienced disability discrimination in that time:

  • 1 in 7 (14%) from health staff
  • 1 in 3 (33%) from other sources (Table 1).

Table 1: People with disability(a) who avoided medical facilities because of their disability in 12 months, by source of discrimination, 2015

Source of discrimination

%

Estimate
(‘000)

Has experienced discrimination

36.2

40.8

Health staff (GP, nurse, hospital staff)

14.2

16.0

Other

32.6

36.7

Has not experienced discrimination

63.1

71.1

Total

100.0

112.6

(a) Aged 15 and over living in households.

Note: A person may have experienced discrimination from more than 1 source, so components will not add to total. A person who experienced discrimination from more than 1 source is counted only once in aggregated totals.

Source: ABS 2016.

People with disability who experience disability discrimination from health staff are around twice as likely to avoid medical facilities as those who experience disability discrimination from another source and around 4 times as likely as those who did not experience disability discrimination. In the last year, an estimated:

  • 38% of people aged 15 and over with disability who have experienced disability discrimination from health staff avoided medical facilities in that time
  • 18% who have experienced disability discrimination from another source avoided medical facilities in that time
  • 8.7% who did not experience disability discrimination avoided medical facilities in that time (Table 2).

Table 2: Type of situation avoided because of disability(a) in the last 12 months, by source of discrimination, 2015 (%)

Type of situation avoided

Health staff (GP, nurse, hospital staff)

Other source

Has not experienced discrimination

Total

Medical facilities (GP, dentist, hospital)

38.2

17.7

8.7

10.8

Other situation

100.0

98.9

99.5

99.4

(a) People aged 15 and over with disability living in households.

Note: A person may have avoided more than 1 situation, so components will not add to total. A person who avoided more than 1 situation is counted only once in aggregated totals.

Source: ABS 2016.

References

ABS (Australian Bureau of Statistics) 2016. Microdata: disability, ageing and carers, Australia, 2015. ABS cat. no. 4430.0.30.002. Canberra: ABS. AIHW analysis of TableBuilder.