Prevalence and frequency of health service use: associations with occupational prestige and educational attainment

Aust J Public Health. 1995 Oct;19(5):512-19. doi: 10.1111/j.1753-6405.1995.tb00420.x.


The accessibility of health care services has been suggested to be one factor with the potential to ameliorate the health effects of socioeconomic disadvantage. From a randomly selected sample of households in the Lower Hunter Valley region, 2623 adults were surveyed in 1987-88 to identify their reported use of medical, allied and alternative health services during the previous four weeks. There was a higher prevalence of use of the 'usual' general practitioner and medical services among educationally disadvantaged respondents only. No significant differences were evident between educational or between occupational groups in the prevalence of use of either alternative services or health services generally. Fewer occupationally disadvantaged respondents reported using allied health services. There was no difference in the number of health services used. Disadvantaged respondents were more likely to use medical services exclusively. Only educationally disadvantaged service users reported using any health, medical or general practitioner services more frequently than expected. In contrast, only occupationally disadvantaged service users reported using allied health services (and allied health services other than dentists) more frequently. The lack of consistent differentials in use across health services in favour of disadvantaged respondents suggests that a number of health care services may not be responding to the greater need for health care among disadvantaged members of the community.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Educational Status
  • Female
  • Health Services / statistics & numerical data*
  • Health Services Accessibility
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • New South Wales
  • Occupations*
  • Social Class*