Health checks


Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (First Nations) people can receive an annual health check, designed specifically for First Nations people and funded through Medicare (DHAC 2022a). This health check was introduced in recognition that First Nations people, as a group, experience some particular health risks (see Timeline of major developments in health check implementation).

The aim of these health checks is to encourage early detection and treatment of common conditions that cause ill health and early death – for example, diabetes and heart disease.

During the health check, a General Practitioner (GP) – or a multidisciplinary team led by a GP – will assess a person’s physical, psychological and social wellbeing (DHAC 2022a). The GP can then provide the person with health-related information, advice and care.

The GP may also refer the person to other health care professionals for follow-‍up care, as needed – for example, physiotherapists, podiatrists or dietitians (See Follow-‍up services overview and Health checks resulting in a follow-‍up).

Example health check templates for 5 different life stages can be downloaded from the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners website.

As part of the Australian Government’s COVID‑‍19 response, telehealth items were introduced in March 2020 to help reduce the risk of community transmission of COVID‑‍19 and provide protection for patients and health care providers (DHAC 2022b). Telehealth consultations may be used for gathering information, but physical examination components are requirements of all health checks (RACGP 2020).

Data from the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander primary health care national Key Performance Indicators (nKPIs) data collection suggest that GPs at Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services (ACCHSs) conduct nearly half of all health checks despite only making up about 1.8% of fulltime-equivalent general practitioners (GPs). See Tracking progress against the Implementation Plan goals for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan 2013–2023 (AIHW 2021).