Healthcare Barriers Hurt Most Vulnerable – NFP Report
10 November 2016 at 9:34 am
Australia’s most vulnerable people continue to face fundamental barriers in trying to access health care, according to a new report.
The QUT-led Real Health of the Nation survey found a lack of social and financial security was the most common barrier to accessing the health system, as well as a lack of transport and awareness of existing services.
QUT’s Faculty of Health partnered with not-for-profit workers from the The Salvation Army, Wesley Mission, Uniting Care Queensland and Micah Projects in a pilot survey to understand the key pressures felt by vulnerable people and their reasons for not accessing health care.
The report found that vulnerable populations – including people who are socially excluded, socio-economically disadvantaged and those with disabilities – faced daily pressures including mental illness, a lack of housing and food, and domestic violence.
According to the researchers, understanding the pressures faced by vulnerable populations in their daily living helps target real solutions.
The data ranked facets of daily living and identified where assistance was most needed to support vulnerable populations.
The majority (56.67 per cent) of client groups fell into the age range of 36 to 64 years, with an equal gender split.
The majority (70.91 per cent) of clients were identified as Oceanian (Australia, New Zealand, Polynesian, Papuan), followed by 16 per cent of North-West European (eg British and Irish).
QUT executive dean for the faculty of health Professor Ross Young said it was shameful some of the most vulnerable people in Australia were unable to access healthcare.
“Access to healthcare is a basic human right but this survey paints a compelling picture of the marginalisation many people in Australia face when it comes to even considering their health needs,” Young said.
“The barriers vulnerable people face relate to a range of complex health needs and face a range of difficulties, from homelessness and long-term unemployment to domestic violence and drug dependency.
“As a society we need to improve the cost, availability and physical access to healthcare to ensure everyone in Australia has equal access, not just those with a postcode and a steady income.”