Medicare-subsidised services provided in non-hospital settings enable eligible Australians to use a wide range of general practice, diagnostic, allied health, specialist, and nursing and Aboriginal health worker services at no or partial cost. This report provides the latest 2018–19 non-hospital Medicare-subsidised service use data, exploring trends in the use of these services.

There was growth in Medicare-subsidised service use between 2013–14 and 2018–19, for people who had a:

  • GP attendance, from 86% (20 million Australians) to 88% (21.9 million)
  • Diagnostic imaging service, such as an X-ray, from 37% (8.5 million people) to 39% (9.6 million)
  • Allied health service, from 32% (7.4 million people) to 37% (9.4 million)
  • Specialist attendance, from 30% (6.8 million people) to 31% (7.8 million)
  • Service provided by a nurse or Aboriginal health worker, from 3.1% (725,000 people) to 7.1% (1.8 million).

Interestingly, while there was an increase in the proportion of people using after-hours GP services from 20% in 2013–14 to 24% in 2017–18, there was a slight decrease between 2017–18 and 2018–19 (23%).

These time series local area data between 2013–14 and 2018–19 confirm that use of non-hospital Medicare-subsidised services varies considerably depending on where people live.

The Technical Information and Technical Note sections of this report provide details about the data source, scope, limitations and measures included. Refer to Using non-hospital Medicare services for the potential use of this report to support decision-making. 

In this report, GP attendances, allied health attendances and specialist attendances are also referred to as GP services, allied health services and specialist services, respectively.

The key findings in this report are not age standardised. See Data for age standardised services per 100 people for GP attendances, Specialist attendances, Diagnostic Imaging, Allied Health and GP After-hours.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Australian Government introduced a range of Medicare-subsidised telehealth services from March 2020. The findings in this report precede the introduction of these new telehealth services.