Mortality estimates for years up to 2005 are based on Australian Bureau of Statistics death registration data. Data from 2006 onwards were provided by the Australian Coordinating Registry, Cause of Death Unit Record File; the data for the most 2 recent years are preliminary (SAPHaRI, Centre for Epidemiology and Evidence, NSW Ministry of Health)
COPD means Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Remaining respiratory diseases* includes all other diseases of the respiratory system not listed individually (see codes tab for further details).
Only NSW residents are included. Deaths were classified using ICD-10. Rates were age-adjusted using the Australian population as at 30 June 2001.
Counts of deaths for the latest year of data include an estimate of the number of deaths occurring in that year but registered in the next year.
LL/UL 95%CI = lower and upper limits of the 95% confidence interval for the point estimate.
In order to complete a death registration in Australia, the death must be certified by either a doctor using the Medical Certificate of Cause of Death, or by a coroner. Natural causes are predominantly certified by doctors, whereas External and Unknown causes or unaccompanied deaths are usually certified by a Coroner. Approximately 85-90% of deaths each year are certified by a doctor and the remainder is reported to a Coroner. The death is registered in the state in which the death occurred, rather than the state in which the person resides. The Australian Cause of Death Statistics System is outlined by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) at https://www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/abs@.nsf/Lookup/3303.0Explanatory%20Notes12018?OpenDocument
The ABS have implemented a revision process for Coroner certified deaths. Data are deemed preliminary when published for the first time, revised when published the following year and final when published two years after initial publication. This revision process, and the impact on specific causes are described at https://www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/abs@.nsf/Lookup/3303.0Explanatory%20Notes12018?OpenDocument.
The ABS publishes two publications every September concerning deaths in the previous calendar year: Deaths, Australia (Catalogue Number 3302.0) and Causes of death, Australia (Catalogue Number 3303.0), which include breakdowns at the State and Territory level. These are usually published nine months following the most recent reported year.
Prior to 2008, the NSW Ministry of Health obtained data on causes of death of all NSW residents from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS). This covers deaths registered from 1964 to 2005.
For deaths registered from 2006 onwards, the NSW Ministry of Health receives coded cause of death data from the Australian Coordinating Registry (ACR). The ACR is an agency appointed to coordinate access of coded cause of death unit record data on behalf of the Registrars of Births Deaths and Marriages in each state or territory as well as the Australian Bureau of Statistics and National Coronial Information System. The coordinating registry undertakes the coordination and management of the designated activity. The underlying legal responsibility is retained by the collective Registrars. The coding of the causes of death is still undertaken by the ABS but the process to obtain the data is administered by the ACR.
The ACR provides the NSW Ministry of Health with a unit record file of all deaths, either occurring in NSW or to NSW residents who died interstate, approximately sixteen to seventeen months following the most recent reported year to allow a detailed analysis of deaths data. This analysis includes comparisons of causes of death in NSW by sub-state geographies (e.g. by Local Health District or Local Government Area) and by other dimensions and sub-populations, such as remoteness categories and socioeconomic groups. Causes of death data are also used throughout the NSW public health system for a variety of health system planning, reporting, research and evaluation needs.
There are differences in how deaths data are reported in HealthStats NSW and by the ABS, including differences in how deaths are allocated to specific years and differences in the populations used for calculating rates.
1. Death count by year of registration and by year of occurrence
There is usually an interval between the occurrence and registration of a death which is related to the time of year or whether a death is referred to a Coroner. The registration of deaths which occur in November and December are likely to be delayed until the following year, for example, of all deaths in NSW registered in 2013, 6.9% had occurred in 2012 or earlier (ABS 3302.0).Deaths data reported by the ABS for the latest year are based on the year of registration therefore do not include deaths which occurred in that year but where registration was delayed.
Deaths data reported in HealthStats NSW are based on the year of occurrence of the death to provide a better match for the population denominator when calculating rates. Estimates of missing deaths for the latest year due to delayed registration (i.e. due to time of year or Coronial cases) are imputed for each cause and included in the count reported in HealthStats NSW. A small percentage of death registrations may be delayed for more than one year. All deaths figures reported in HealthStats NSW are updated historically (e.g. in trends) when new data becomes available.
2. Different population projection data
For the calculation of rates, the NSW Ministry of Health uses population projection estimates from the NSW Department of Planning, Industry, and Environment. The estimated residential populations which are not projected are the same as those published by the ABS and are currently based on the 2016 Census. See Methods associated with indicators in topics Demography (or Population) for further discussion of population estimates.
Australian Bureau of Statistics. Deaths, Australia, latest year. 3302.0. Canberra: ABS, . Available at http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/mf/3302.0
Australian Bureau of Statistics. Causes of Deaths, Australia, latest year. 3303.0. Canberra: ABS, . Available at http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/mf/3303.0
Australian Bureau of Statistics. Multiple Cause of Deaths, Australia, 1997-2001. 3319.0.55.001. Canberra: ABS, . Available at http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/mf/3319.0.55.001
Lung cancer is classified with cancers, not with respiratory diseases, in the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (ICD-9-CM, ICD-10-AM), which is the main coding system used for health data in NSW.
Consequently lung cancer (ICD-10-AM: C33-C34) and other cancers of respiratory and intrathoracic organs (ICD-10-AM: C30-C39) are not included in this indicator. Infectious and parasitic diseases with respiratory manifestation (for example, tuberculosis, whooping cough and other diseases which can be found in ICD-10-AM: A00-B99) are not included either.
|Description||ICD-10 & ICD-10-AM||Comments|
|Respiratory diseases: Total||J00-J99||
This indicator uses underlying cause of death only.
All records are included, NSW residents only, all ages.
|Influenza and pneumonia||J09-J18|
|Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease||J40-J44|
|Other respiratory diseases principally affecting the interstitium||J80-J84|
|Remaining respiratory diseases||J30-J39, J60-J70, J85-J86, J90-J99|
Where numbers do not allow reporting of specific diseases, remaining respiratory diseases* also includes Asthma.
• In 2019 in NSW, 11.5% of adults aged 16 years and over (8.4% of men and 14.4% of women) had asthma currently, as estimated from the 2019 NSW Adult Population Health Survey (self-reported using a Computer Assisted Telephone Interview or CATI). In 2018-2019, 14.8% of boys and 10.8% of girls aged 2-15 years were reported to currently have asthma, with 24.1% of boys and 16.8% of girls reported as ever having asthma, as estimated from the NSW Population Health Survey (self-reported using a Computer Assisted Telephone Interview or CATI). Asthma was responsible for 152 deaths in 2018 and 11,290 hospitalisations in 2018-19.
• Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which includes chronic bronchitis and emphysema, was responsible for 2,389 deaths in 2018 in NSW (91% or 2,166 in those aged 65 years and over) and more than 22,378 hospitalisations in 2018-19.
• Asbestosis is a chronic lung dust disease that is associated with occupational exposure to asbestos. Total hospitalisations due to asbestos in NSW have steadily decreased in recent years.
Respiratory diseases include acute diseases such as influenza and pneumonia, and chronic respiratory diseases (specifically asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, asbestosis, and respiratory tuberculosis), where preventive measures and better management of conditions can reduce the burden of disease and reduce associated healthcare costs.
Chronic respiratory diseases were responsible for 7.5% of the total burden of disease and injury in Australia in 2015, with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and asthma accounting for 51.4% and 33.8% of this burden, respectively (AIHW 2019).
Influenza and pneumonia are acute respiratory diseases that can be very severe and, in persons at high risk, can lead to death. Influenza and pneumonia cause around 2.5% of all deaths and around 0.9% of hospital separations and are an important cause of hospitalisations in the very young, and of death and hospitalisations among older age groups.
Asthma is a significant public health problem in Australia and it is estimated that Australian prevalence rates are among the highest in the world. Fortunately, recent studies in children show no further increase in prevalence. In Australia in 2015, asthma was estimated to account for 2.5% of the disease burden (AIHW 2019).
Chronic bronchitis and emphysema are the two main conditions comprising chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). In Australia in 2015, COPD was estimated to account for 3.9% of the disease burden (AIHW 2019).
Tuberculosis (TB) is caused by the bacterial organism Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Despite the increasing burden from respiratory tuberculosis globally, it is not a major public health problem in NSW. In fact the mortality and morbidity from all types of tuberculosis in NSW is one of the lowest in the world.
Lung cancer is usually excluded from analyses of respiratory diseases as it is classified with cancers in the International Classification of Diseases (the coding system used for health data in NSW). It has been included with respiratory diseases here to provide a more appropriate measure of the burden of respiratory disease from a clinical and health services planning perspective.
Cigarette smoking is the main risk factor for both COPD and lung cancer and the current incidence rates of these conditions reflect smoking rates 20 years and more in the past. Lung cancer is one of the leading causes of death in Australia.
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 2019. Australian Burden of Disease Study: Impact and causes of illness and death in Australia 2015. Australian Burden of Disease Study series no. 19. BOD 22. Canberra: AIHW. Available at: https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/burden-of-disease/burden-disease-study-illness-death-2015/contents/table-of-contents
Written asthma management plans are recommended as part of the national guidelines for the management of asthma: Australian Asthma Handbook (NACA 2015). They enable people with asthma to recognise a deterioration in their condition and initiate appropriate treatment, thereby reducing the severity of acute episodes.
The Australian Asthma Handbook promotes preventive care activities, proper inhaler technique and adherence and stepped medical management where the use of medicines can be increased or decreased depending on circumstances and the therapy combinations.
Australia is fortunate in having one of the lowest rates of TB in the world. This has been primarily achieved as a result of a continued commitment to provide specialised health services dedicated to the prevention and control of TB in each of the states and territories. The National TB Advisory Committee’s Strategic Plan for the Control of Tuberculosis, 2011-2015 sets out the goals and objectives of TB control in Australia.
Despite Australia’s success in reducing TB, there is no room for complacency. Global connectivity through air travel and migration means that TB will remain a public health concern in Australia until worldwide control of TB is achieved. The NSW TB Program is the provider of specialised services for the prevention and control of TB in NSW and plays a vital role in maintaining Australia’s success in reducing the burden of TB.
Influenza and pneumonia
Influenza and pneumococcal disease are covered by the National Immunisation Programs in NSW.
Influenza has been a notifiable disease by all laboratories under the Public Health Act in NSW since 2001. Surveillance is enhanced in winter months when the NSW Ministry of Health collects and reports weekly on influenza-like illness presentations to Emergency Departments, through the Public Health Rapid, Emergency, Disease and Syndromic Surveillance System (PHREDSS), and laboratory-confirmed diagnoses of influenza virus infections.
Emergency Departments in NSW are prepared for influenza epidemics with peak visit plans and similar measures in winter months.
National Asthma Council Australia. Australian Asthma Handbook. NACA, 2015. Available at: https://www.nationalasthma.org.au/health-professionals/australian-asthma-handbook
Australian Centre for Airways disease Monitoring (ACAM) at http://www.asthmamonitoring.org
National Asthma Council Australia at http://www.nationalasthma.org.au
Australian Bureau of Statistics at http://www.abs.gov.au
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare at http://www.aihw.gov.au
healthdirect at http://www.healthdirect.gov.au