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Preventive care and potentially avoidable deaths


Paul Hayes 4/12/2017 11:32:09 AM

Almost one in five deaths in Australia in 2013–15 could possibly have been avoided, according to new data from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).

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RACGP President Dr Bastian Seidel believes general practice is an ideal setting for helping to reduce potentially avoidable deaths in Australia.

The AIHW Healthy communities: Life expectancy and potentially avoidable deaths in 2013–2015 revealed that 17% of all deaths – 80,000 people – recorded in Australia in 2013–15 were considered potentially avoidable. Potentially avoidable deaths are defined as those that occurred before the age of 75, and which are amenable to screening and primary prevention and reflect the effectiveness of current preventive health activities. These deaths include those from a result of diabetes, heart disease, and many different cancers.
 
While the latest figures represent a decrease potentially avoidable deaths, down from 117 per 100,000 people in 2009–11 to 108 in 2013–15, RACGP President Dr Bastian Seidel still finds the numbers ‘alarming’.
 
‘These types of statistics are further evidence of the importance of a well-funded general practice system,’ he told newsGP. ‘As the best place for preventive care in the community, general practice can play a major role in helping to reduce the number of potentially avoidable deaths in Australia.’
 
The report also highlighted a healthcare divide between urban and rural parts of Australia, with rates of avoidable deaths often much greater outside of major cities. Northern Sydney had the country’s lowest rate of potentially avoidable deaths, with 62 per 100,000 people, while the Northern Territory’s 226 per 100,000 people (an increase from 219 in 2009–11) was the highest.


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