Published Papers - Abstract 332

Young A, Byles J, Lowe J & Dolja-Gore X. Health care for women with diabetes living in rural areas. , 2007; :

The provision of equitable access to effective and appropriate health services for people with chronic disease in rural and remote areas is essential. A number of Medicare initiatives have been introduced in recent years to improve the care of people with chronic disease such as diabetes. This paper aims to evaluate the access to quality diabetes care for women living in rural and remote areas across Australia. The Australian Longitudinal Study on Women’s Health provides an opportunity to describe thepatterns of care provided to women with diabetes and to assess whether the uptake of new treatment and care initiatives has been equitable. Longitudinal self-reported survey data collected since 1996 from a random sample of more than 40 000 women about doctor diagnosed medical conditions, linked with Medicare and Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme claims data, were used to classify women as having diabetes. The empirical data are supplemented by self-reported access to health care services such as hospitals, specialists, bulk billing and after hours care and also qualitative data from the women. Almost 7000 women aged 79–84 years completed their 4th survey for the study in 2005, including 3809 older women living in rural and remote areas of Australia. The prevalence of diabetes among women in the older cohort was 8% in 1996 when they were aged 70–75 years. By 2005 the prevalence of diabetes among these older women was 15% in Major Cities, 16% in Inner Regional areas, 18% in Outer Regional areas and 19% in Remote/Very Remote areas. This paper will discuss the geographic equity in the health and health service use for these women over time.