Australians are the most satisfied citizens in the world when it comes to the quality of healthcare, they have access to, according to a new Ipsos global survey of 27 nations. We also have very high levels of trust in our healthcare services and rate highly on access to both care and information.
A large minority of Australians (42%), however, are concerned that many in our country cannot afford good healthcare and more than half (55%) believe the health system is currently overstretched.
Ipsos Australia Director, Head of Public Affairs – Melbourne, Dan Pole, said: “These results are a continuation of a longer term trend of increasing positivity towards healthcare and the healthcare system in Australia. We are more satisfied than we were a decade ago, and right now we are among the most satisfied citizens in the world.
“This is something that everyone in healthcare – from frontline staff to ministers – should be very proud of. We should also avoid complacency and remember that perception and reality are not always aligned.”
Key Australian findings:
Views of health services
- More than eight in ten Australians (81%) rate the quality of healthcare as ‘good’ or ‘very good’ – the highest result of all 27 countries surveyed.
- Thinking of the future, almost three in ten Australians (28%) expect the quality of healthcare to improve – more than double the proportion expecting things to worsen (11%).
- In this respect, Australians are more positive about the future than in the US (21% improve), Canada (17% improve) and Great Britain (14% improve), though less positive than the global average (32%).
- Australians have high levels of trust that their country’s healthcare services ‘will provide them with the best treatment’ – 74% agree, second only to Malaysia (75%) and well above the global average (50%).
- Australia also tops the world in terms of perceived ease of access to primary care – 72% agree they ‘find it easy to get an appointment with doctors in my local area’. This was the highest result of all 27 nations surveyed and well above the global average.
- In terms of access to information, Australia leads the world again:
- ‘Information about healthcare services is readily available when I need it (Rank 1st , 77% agree)
- ‘Information about how to look after my health is readily available when I need it’ (Rank 1st, 78% agree)
- A significant minority of Australians are concerned that many in our country cannot afford good healthcare – 42% agree. While this was below the global average (59%) it was also significantly higher than Canada (29% agree), Great Britain (28%), and Sweden (24%).
- Further, a slim majority of Australians (52%) agree that ‘the health system is overstretched’ – slightly lower than the global average (55%).
- The Coronavirus is the clearly the biggest health problem facing the country. In order, the key health problems cited by Australians are: Coronavirus (65%), Mental Health (47%), Cancer (30%), Obesity (22%) and Drug Abuse (14%).
Australians were just as likely as their US counterparts to mention Coronavirus as a health problem (65% mention in Australia compared to 66% mention in the US).
Australians were much more likely than the global average to cite mental health as an issue.
- Australian women were more likely to select mental health issues – 56% citing compared to 37% among men.
- Australians aged 50 and over were less likely to mention mental health (36%) compared with their younger counterparts.
- Older Australians (50-74 years) are more likely to state that the quality of healthcare is good or very good (86%).
A clear majority of Australians (72%) believe that vaccinations against serious infectious diseases should be compulsory – significantly higher than the global average (64%). Support for compulsory vaccinations is more prevalent among Australian men (74%) and those aged 50-74 years (78%).
Key global findings:
- Coronavirus has stormed onto the scene this year as the “greatest health problem facing people in my country”. It is ranked #1 in 26 of the 27 countries surveyed.
- Almost twice as many select COVID-19 than cancer, which falls back to being the second most pressing health concern around the world in 2020.
- Mental health remains a key health problem for the public and is ranked 3rd
- Generational differences show under-35s to be more likely to report mental health as an important health problem.
- In 2020, people’s assessments of the health service in their country is generally more positive than it was two years ago. Overall, there is greater trust that patients will receive the best treatment.
- Trust in healthcare systems to provide the public with the best care is up 9 points since 2018, to 50%.
- Australians are the most satisfied with the quality of healthcare they have access to.
- A majority worldwide (55%) say that their country’s healthcare system is overstretched.
- France and Sweden are most concerned about their health services not having enough staff.
- One in three expect healthcare in their country to improve in the future, with twice as many saying it will get better than get worse. Countries with more established healthcare systems tend to be more pessimistic.
- Access to treatment/waiting times emerges as the biggest challenge associated with healthcare systems, followed by understaffing. Cost is also a key issue in many countries.
About the study
This study did not have any external sponsors or partners. It was initiated and run by Ipsos, because we are curious about the world we live in and how citizens around the globe think and feel about their world.
This 27-country Global Advisor survey was conducted between September 25th and October 9th, 2020 via the Ipsos Online Panel system among 20,009 adults aged 18-74 in Canada, Malaysia, South Africa, Turkey and the United States, and 16-74 in all 22 other countries.
The sample consists of approximately 1000+ individuals in each of Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China (mainland), France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Spain, Sweden, and the US, and approximately 500+ individuals in each of Argentina, Chile, Hungary, India, Malaysia, the Netherlands, Peru, Poland, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, and Turkey.
The samples in Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Great Britain, Hungary, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Poland, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, and the U.S. can be taken as representative of these countries’ general adult population under the age of 75.
The samples in Brazil, Chile, China, India, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, and Turkey are more urban, more educated, and/or more affluent than the general population. The survey results for these markets should be viewed as reflecting the views of the more “connected” segment of these populations.
Weighting has been employed to balance demographics and ensure that the sample’s composition reflects that of the adult population according to the most recent census data.
Sample surveys and polls may be subject to sources of error, including, but not limited to coverage error, and measurement error. The precision of the online surveys conducted is measured using a Bayesian Credibility Interval. Here, the Australian results have a credibility interval of +/-3.5 percentage points. For more information on the Ipsos use of credibility intervals, please go to: https://www.ipsos.com/sites/default/files/2017-03/IpsosPA_CredibilityIntervals.pdf