Number of health checks
In 2020–21, there were about 244,000 Indigenous‑specific health checks provided to about 237,000 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people (Figure 1). The minimum time allowed between checks is 9 months, and so people can receive more than 1 health check in a year. Data from the Indigenous primary health care national Key Performance Indicators (nKPIs) data collection suggest that GPs at Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations conduct nearly half of all Indigenous‑specific health checks despite only making up about 1.8% of fulltime-equivalent general practitioners (GPs) (See Indigenous‑specific health checks, AIHW 2021).
Between 2010–11 and 2018–19, the number of Indigenous Australians receiving a health check more than tripled – from about 71,000 to 241,000 patients. For the first time in 9 years, the number of health check patients decreased during the COVID‑19 pandemic (See Impacts of COVID-19 on data, AIHW 2021). The number of people who received a health check first dropped slightly in 2019–20 (by about 2,200 patients or 1% since 2018–19), and then dropped again in 2020–21 by a similar number (about 2,200 patients or 1% since 2019–20) (Figure 1).
Telehealth MBS items were introduced in 2020, in response to COVID‑19 and associated restrictions (Department of Health 2020). 12,000 Indigenous‑specific health checks were conducted via telehealth in 2020–21, equating to 5% of all health checks in the financial year. The number of patients who received a health check via telehealth in 2020–21 was greater than in 2019–20 (12,000 compared with 10,000), but it is important to note that telehealth items were only available for 3–4 months in 2019–20 (Figure 1).
Figure 1: Number of Indigenous‑specific health check patients and services by sex and telehealth status, 2010–11 to 2020–21
An interactive line graph showing the change in Indigenous-specific health check patients and services between 2010-11 and 2020-21. Health check patient counts and service counts track very closely. Health check patients increased from 71,000 in 2010-11 to 241,000 in 2018-19, before falling slightly in both 2019-20 and 2020-21. Filters allow sex and telehealth status selection. Refer to table 'HC01' in data tables.
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) 2021, Tracking progress against the Implementation Plan goals for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan 2013–2023, AIHW, Australian Government, accessed 22 February 2022.
Department of Health (2020) Coronavirus (COVID‑19) – Telehealth items guide, Department of Health, Australian Government, accessed 22 February 2022.