Australians who live in disadvantaged areas are more likely to be admitted to hospital with injuries than those who live in more affluent areas, a new study has found.
A new report from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW), ‘Hospitalised injury and socioeconomic influence in Australia 2015-16’, finds that rates of injury generally decline in line with increasing advantage.
“For those living in the most disadvantaged areas, rates of hospitalised injury were highest; while for those living in the most advantaged areas, rates of injury hospitalisation were lowest,’ says epidemiologist and public health physician Professor James Harrison from the AIHW’s National Injury Surveillance Unit, based at Flinders University.
“More than 112,000 people from the most disadvantaged areas of Australia were admitted to hospital as a result of injury over a 12-month period (2015-16) – a rate of 2,244 cases per 100,000 people,” says Professor Harrison, from the College of Medicine and Public Health.
“During the same period, the rate of hospitalisations for people from the most advantaged areas was 1,808 cases per 100,000 people (more than 89,000 people).”
The report shows that 287 per 100,000 people in the most disadvantaged group were hospitalised due to transport crashes, compared to 201 people per 100,000 in the most economically advantaged areas.
The rate of hospitalisation due to intentional assault was 161 per 100,000 people for the most disadvantaged social group and 39 per 100,000 people for the most advantaged group.
“Among males, there were 186 assault injury cases per 100,000 people in the most disadvantaged group, compared to 58 in the most advantage group,” Professor Harrison says.
“For females, the assault injury the rate was 135 per 100,000 for the most disadvantaged group and 19.7 for the most advantaged group.”
Over the period 2007-08 to 2015-16, the rate of hospitalised injury increased for those living in both the highest (most disadvantaged) and lowest (most advantaged) areas.
Changes in rates over time varied considerably by group and by age, but rates of hospitalised injury were higher in each year for those in the most disadvantaged group compared with the most advantaged group.
The research was conducted using the AIHW’s national hospital (admitted patient) collection, and by applying the Australian Bureau of Statistics Index of Relative Socio-economic Disadvantage, which divides the population into five equal-sized socioeconomic groups based on area of residence.