Identifying and removing access barriers to the timely provision of comprehensive health care is increasingly important for the wellbeing of Australia's rapidly ageing and frail populations, particularly those in non-metropolitan settings. This study has examined if current general practice (GP) locations in non-metropolitan South Australia (SA) and Western Australia (WA) are geographically accessible to the rapidly growing frail and prefrail populations known to have a high level of health service use and reduced mobility. Geospatial analysis linking 60-kilometre GP service catchments, 2016 population counts, and 2027 population projections has estimated that the size of the frail and prefrail population that live outside these GP service catchments will double, reaching 7,800 people by 2027. The maldistribution of GP locations was most evident in WA. As regional and remote populations continue to age, the challenge of health service provision, including geographic access to care, must be resolved to ensure that populations in these areas have the best opportunity to age well. Geospatial methods linking service and demographic information, such as the approach used in this analysis, can aid in planning the equitable provision of health care for older Australians.
- geospatial analysis
- health service