LandscapeCost is a huge deterrent for people with disability, delaying or avoiding seeing a GP, specialist or dentist. According to a new report from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 17 per cent of people with disability delayed seeing or did not see a GP when they needed to because of cost and 20 per cent of people with disability delayed or did not see a medical specialist due to cost. Visiting a dentist was avoided or delayed too, because of cost, by nearly two-thirds.

Location was also a major factor affecting access to health services by people with disability. The Access to health services by Australians with disability 2012 report found that people with disability living in outer regional and remote areas had lower use rates of services from GPs, specialists and dentists than those living in major cities. They were also more likely to visit a hospital emergency department for health issues that could potentially be dealt with by non-hospital services, according to AIHW spokesperson Justine Boland.

“Of people with disability who saw three or more different health professionals for the same health condition, 16 per cent had difficulties caused by lack of communication or coordination among different health professionals,” Boland said.