National News

Preventable hospital trips highest in NT

Preventable_hospital_trips_highest_in_NT.jpg

The Northern Territory has recorded the country's highest rate of potentially preventable hospitalisations, a new report shows.

A study by the public health information development unit at Torrens University reveals residents of the Alice Springs and Barkly/Tennant Creek areas are four times more likely than the national average to be hospitalised for a potentially preventable issue.

Remote areas of Queensland and Western Australia also recorded persistently high rates of potentially avoidable hospital stays.

In South Australia, the town of Coober Pedy and the outback are two times more likely than average, and Renmark 90 per cent more likely.

The report, released by the university on Wednesday, analysed occasions when a hospital admission related to a condition could have been prevented through preventative health intervention and early disease management.

Preventative treatment is generally delivered in primary care settings or by community-based care providers.

The conditions include urinary tract infections, diabetes complications, asthma, pneumonia, dental conditions and iron deficiency anaemia.

The area with the lowest rate of potentially preventable hospitalisations was West Ulverstone in Tasmania, where residents were 50 per cent less likely to present than the national average.

Across the country, there were an estimated 27.3 potentially preventable hospitalisations for every 1000 people during the 2016-17 year, accounting for 6.5 per cent of all hospital stays.

Professor John Glover, director of the PHIDU, said the data will be useful at various levels of the health system.

"We hope it helps the various providers to work together, with an aim to reduce the level of potentially preventable hosiptalisations through improved primary health care outcomes at a local area level," he said.

© AAP 2019

Image: Bigstock