Number of follow-ups

Health checks are useful for finding health issues; however, improving health outcomes also requires appropriate follow-up of any issues identified during a health check (Bailie et al. 2014, Dutton et al. 2016).

Based on needs identified during a health check, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people can access Indigenous-specific follow-up services—from allied health workers, practice nurses, or Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health practitioners—through MBS items 10987, and 81300–81360 (see also Box 2).

Indigenous Australians may receive follow-up care through other MBS items that are also available to non-Indigenous patients. For example, if a person is diagnosed with a chronic health condition, the GP might prepare a GP Management Plan, or refer the person to a specialist. Data in this report relate to Indigenous-specific items only.

In 2017–18, there were about 324,000 Indigenous-specific follow-up services provided to 133,000 Indigenous Australians. This was an increase from around 18,500 follow-ups provided to 9,900 patients in 2010–11 (Figure 7).

Figure 7 Alternative text. Download data tables.

Box 2: MBS Indigenous-specific health checks follow-up items

Based on health needs identified during an Indigenous-specific health check (MBS item 715), people can access a range of Indigenous-specific follow-up services—these are described below. The MBS item number indicates the type of provider, but not always the type of service received, as some provider types—such as Indigenous health practitioners—can provide a mix of services.

Follow–up services provided by a practice nurse or an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health practitioner (MBS item 10987)

Indigenous Australians who have received an Indigenous-specific health check can access up to 10 follow–up services per calendar year provided by a practice nurse or an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health practitioner, where the service is provided on behalf of and under the supervision of a medical practitioner. This MBS item (number 10987) may be used to provide a range of services, including:

  • examinations/interventions indicated as necessary by the health check;
  • education regarding medication compliance and associated monitoring;
  • checks on clinical progress and service access;
  • education, monitoring and counselling activities and lifestyle advice;
  • taking medical history; and
  • prevention advice for chronic conditions, and associated follow up.

Data on the specific type of services provided to each person under this MBS item are not available from the MBS data set.

Allied health follow-up services (MBS items 81300–81360)

Indigenous Australians who have received an Indigenous-specific health check can access up to 5 follow-up allied health services per calendar year, provided by either:

  • an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health practitioner or Aboriginal health worker, following referral by the GP (MBS items 81300); or
  • an allied health worker, following referral by the GP (MBS items 81305–81360).

Each item number relates to 1 eligible allied health professional (see Table 2 in Data  sources and notes). For items 81305–81360, this provides an indication of the type of services received (for example, item 81335 relates to a physiotherapy service provided by a physiotherapist); however item 81300 could include a range of allied health service types.