Medications dispensed to contemporary ex-serving ADF members in 2017–18

This section describes the contemporary ex-serving population and its characteristics, as well as how these characteristics may affect medication dispensing for this population.

The contemporary ex-serving population

The contemporary ex-serving ADF population, is made up of all ADF personnel with at least one day of service since 1 January 2001, who were discharged after this date and prior to 1 July 2017.

As such, the contemporary population is a subset of the broader ex-serving population and has some distinct characteristics, most notably, it is a relatively young population, and has a smaller proportion of women compared with the Australian population (Figure 1).

For medication dispensing, this has the potential to affect the results between these two populations, as certain medications can be sex-specific, or are prescribed in the treatment and management of health conditions that occur more commonly in older age groups. Therefore, results have been disaggregated by age and sex in the data visualisations that accompany this report, as well as in the supplementary tables. Age and sex standardisation is used wherever comparisons are made between the contemporary ex-serving population and the whole Australian population to account for the differences. See 'Introduction' for details on how this population have been determined.

Figure 1: Age and sex of the Contemporary ex-serving population in 2017–18 and the Australian population on 31 December 2017 (per cent)

This panel graph presents two population pyramids for the contemporary ex-serving and Australian populations. The population pyramids highlight the different age and sex structures between the two populations, particularly the greater proportion of men in the contemporary ex-serving population and the greater proportion of ex-serving members in the younger age groups than in the Australian population.

Sources: AIHW analysis of linked PMKeYS dataset, 2017–18 (Contemporary ex-serving population); ABS Estimated Resident Population aged 17 and over as at 31 December 2017 (Australian population).

The contemporary ex-serving population and sub-populations

The contemporary ex-serving population itself is not a homogenous population. Within the contemporary ex-serving population, three sub-populations or cohorts, have been created for analysis in this report: DVA cardholders; Concession cardholders; and, General beneficiaries. See Scope of analysis and Technical notes for details on how these cohorts have been determined.

Figure 2 below highlights the different age and sex structures of the three different cohorts analysed in this report. All cohorts had relatively few women, DVA cardholders were relatively evenly distributed with regards to age, while concession cardholders had a bimodal distribution with a large proportion aged 30–39 and 65–69 and general beneficiaries a younger distribution with regards to age. 

The age distribution of the DVA cardholder cohort reflects the requirements associated with gaining a DVA card which include age, illness and particular service experience. The bimodal distribution of the concession cardholder population reflects these members having either age-based cards (such as pension cards), or income-based cards (such as a health care card).

Figure 2: Age and sex of the contemporary ex-serving cohorts in 2017–18 (per cent)

This panel graphs presents three population pyramids for the three contemporary ex-serving cohorts, DVA cardholders, Concession cardholders and General beneficiaries. The pyramids highlight the different age and sex structures of each cohort. The DVA cardholder cohort has a more even distribution across age groups, the concession cardholder cohort has high proportions of younger age groups and older age groups, and the general beneficiary cohort has higher proportions of younger age groups. Note, all three cohorts have much greater proportions of men than women.

Source: AIHW analysis of linked PMKeyS–PBS/RPBS data 2017–18.