Measures are presented by 61 Medicare Local catchments and seven clusters of Medicare Local catchments called peer groups. This enables fairer comparisons of individual Medicare Local catchments, and also provides a summary of the variation across Australia’s diverse metropolitan, regional and rural populations by presenting aggregate results for each peer group.
This grouping was undertaken by the National Health Performance Authority using statistical cluster analysis of 2006 Census based socioeconomic status for each Medicare Local and 2006 Census based Remoteness Area categories (ABS cat. no. 2039.0).
Additional information on the average distance to the closest large city and major hospital (A1 public hospital peer group classification, 2010–11) contributed to the assignment of Medicare Locals to peer groups. Groupings were tested for face validity with a stakeholder group. The National Health Performance Authority has created 7 peer groups: Metro 1 to 3, Regional 1 and 2 and Rural 1 and 2.
The Authority identified seven peer groups of Medicare Local catchments on the basis of:
- Proximity of each Medicare Local to major metropolitan areas (using the ABS Australian Standard Geographic Classification, 2006 Remoteness Structure)
- Proximity to major hospitals (A1 public hospitals in the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare Public Hospital Peer Group classification, 2010–11)
- Socioeconomic status.
There are 351 SA3s, comprising 333 areas that cover the whole of Australia without gaps or overlaps, and 18 special classifications (two per state and territory). These special classifications are not required when population is estimated on the basis of place of usual residence. Therefore the Authority reports on 333 SA3s when reporting at this level of geography.
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