Goal 13: Health checks—people aged 15–24

This indicator reports on the rate of Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) item 715 health checks among Indigenous young people aged 15–24. The goal for this indicator is 42% by 2023.

Why is it important?

Early detection is the discovery of a disease or condition at an early stage of its development or onset, usually before symptoms occur. In Australia, primary health care providers, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health services and GPs, have a key role in early detection and early treatment programs. Early detection and treatment programs are most effective when there are systematic approaches to ensuring assessment and screening occurs regularly and at recommended intervals.

What data are available?

All Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are eligible for an annual Indigenous-specific health check, namely item 715 on the MBS. Administrative data are available on the number of MBS item 715 health checks for which a claim has been processed by Medicare Australia.

What do the data show?

Progress towards the goal is not on track. While the rate of health checks among Indigenous young people aged 15–24 has increased over time, the rate of change will need to increase if the goal for 2023 is to be met, with rates in each of the 4 years from 2014–15 to 2017-18 below the trajectory points required to meet this goal. In 2017-18, the trajectory point was 28%, compared with an actual rate of 25%.

In 2017-18, 37,721 health checks were provided for Indigenous young people aged 15–24. Indigenous females aged 15–24 were more likely than males of this age to have received a health check (29% compared with 21%).

The rate of health checks among Indigenous young people aged 15–24 varied by jurisdiction—ranging from 10% in Tasmania to 32% in Queensland.