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The Australian health system provides a wide range of preventive, treatment and palliative health care services. Health service use is an important factor in assessing the health status of Australia’s males. Monitoring health needs and help-seeking behaviours and patterns of health service use can identify inequalities in access and predict future health care needs.
The Medicare Benefits Scheme (MBS) records information on medical services and tests subsidised by the Australian Government. People who reside in Australia and are Australian or New Zealand citizens or hold a permanent visa are eligible for Medicare enrolment.
In 2008–09, more than 10 million males were enrolled in Medicare, and received an average of 11 Medicare services in that year. 16% of enrolled males were non-users (0 services), 5% were average users (11–12 services) and 3% were heavy users (51 or more services).
The proportion of males who did not use Medicare in 2008–09 changed with age:
Note: COPD occurs mostly in people aged 55 years and over. While it is occasionally reported in younger age groups, in those aged 55 years and over there is more certainty that the condition is COPD and not another respiratory condition. For this reason only people aged 55 years and over are included in this graph.
Source: The health of Australia's males Table A5.3.
Hospitals are an important part of the Australian health system. Admitted patient care refers to care of a patient who undergoes a hospital’s formal admission process.
In 2008–09, there were 3.9 million hospitalisations among males, accounting for 47% of all hospitalisations.
Hospitalisations generally increase with age, and are highest among men aged 85 and over:
Source: The health of Australia's males Table A5.5.
Some population groups also have more hospitalisations than others do.
45% of hospitalisations among Indigenous males in 2008–10 were for dialysis. The next most common reasons for hospitalisation include: