NT Health Research and Publications Online

Welcome to NT Health Research and Publications Online, an open access digital repository that showcases the research projects and output of researchers working for the Northern Territory Department of Health (NT Health), while also collecting and preserving publications and multimedia produced in an official capacity, that represent the department. This service is maintained by NT Health Library Services
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  • Publication
    Journal Article
    The relationship between number of primary health care visits and hospitalisations: evidence from linked clinic and hospital data for remote Indigenous Australians.
    (2013-11-06) ; ;
    Guthridge, Steven
    Lawton, P
    Primary health care (PHC) is widely regarded as essential for preventing and treating ill health. However, the evidence on whether improved PHC reduces hospitalisations has been mixed. This study examines the relationship between PHC and hospital inpatient care in a population with high health need, high rates of hospitalisation and relatively poor PHC access.The cross-sectional study used linked individual level PHC visit and hospitalisation data for 52 739 Indigenous residents from 54 remote communities in the Northern Territory of Australia between 1 July 2007 and 30 June 2011. The association between PHC visits and hospitalisations was modelled using simple and spline quadratic regression for key demographics and disease groups including potentially avoidable hospitalisations.At the aggregate level, the average annual number of PHC visits per person had a U-shaped association with hospitalisations. For all conditions combined, there was an inverse association between PHC visits and hospitalisations for people with less than four clinic visits per year, but a positive association for those visiting the clinic four times or more. For patients with diabetes, ischaemic heart disease or renal disease, the minimum level of hospitalisation was found when there was 20-30 PHC visits a year, and for children with otitis media and dental conditions, 5-8 visits a year.The results of this study demonstrate a U-shape relationship between PHC visits and hospitalisations. Under the conditions of remote Indigenous Australians, there may be an optimal level of PHC at which hospitalisations are at a minimum. The authors propose that the effectiveness of a health system may hinge on a refined balance, rather than a straight-line relationship between primary health care and tertiary care.
  • Publication
    Journal Article
    Remoteness, models of primary care and inequity: Medicare under-expenditure in the Northern Territory.
    Objective To analyse Medicare expenditure by State/Territory, remoteness, and Indigenous demography to assess funding equality in meeting the health needs of remote Indigenous populations in the Northern Territory. Methods Analytic descriptions of Medicare online reports on services and benefits by key demographic variables linked with Australian Bureau of Statistics data on remoteness and Indigenous population proportion. The Northern Territory Indigenous and non-Indigenous populations were compared with the Australian average between the 2010/2011 and 2019/2020 fiscal years in terms of standardised rates of Medicare services and benefits. These were further analysed using ordinary least squares, simultaneous equations and multilevel models. Results In per capita terms, the Northern Territory receives around 30% less Medicare funds than the national average, even when additional Commonwealth funding for Aboriginal medical services is included. This funding shortfall amounts to approximately AU$80 million annually across both the Medicare Benefits Schedule and Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme. The multilevel models indicate that providing healthcare for an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander person in a remote area involves a Medicare shortfall of AU$531-AU$1041 less Medicare Benefits Schedule benefits per annum compared with a non-Indigenous person in an urban area. Indigenous population proportion, together with remoteness, explained 51% of the funding variation. An age-sex based capitation funding model would correct about 87% of the Northern Territory primary care funding inequality. Conclusions The current Medicare funding scheme systematically disadvantages the Northern Territory. A needs-based funding model is required that does not penalise the Northern Territory population based on the remote primary health care service model.
  • Person
    Nasir, Rushid
  • Person
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