FREMANTLE residents feel healthier than people in almost all other Australian communities according to a just released National Health Performance Authority survey.
Ninety per cent of locals rated their health as either good, very good or excellent. Only Bayside and the Sydney North Shore and Beaches (both 91 per cent) ranked themselves higher.
The survey indicates how healthy residents feel and not actually how healthy they are.
“It’s good that people are thinking about their health,” Fremantle Medicare Local chief Christa Riegler says.
The next step is to keep people healthy through prevention, which is less expensive than response.
It wasn’t all good for Fremantle, however: Nineteen per cent said they had waited too long for a GP appointment, well above the 13 per cent average for the peer group.
Ms Riegler says more GPs are available locally since the data was collated, but, “there is still a GP shortage, it just depends on where you are”.
Additionally, 10 per cent of locals felt cost barriers when trying to see a GP.
Ms Riegler says a suite of services for people on lower incomes include the Freo Street Doctor. Fremantle has one of the lowest rates of GP after-hours visits in the country but she says this is only useful if compared to emergency department visits.
Medicare Local is trying to raise awareness about after-hours locations: “This is really about improving access, raising awareness and reducing stress on hospitals.”
by MATTHEW DeFRANKS