- + Key points: Potentially avoidable deaths
• The potentially avoidable death rate decreased by around 26% in the 10 years between 2004 and 2013.
• Aboriginal people died from potentially avoidable deaths at a rate around 2.2 times higher than non-Aboriginal people in the combined years 2009 to 2013.
• Potentially avoidable death rates increase consistently over time with increasing geographic remoteness but have decreased over time for all geographic categories.
• The rates of potentially avoidable death increase consistently over time with increasing socioeconomic disadvantage but have decreased over time for all socioeconomic groups.
- + Background: Potentially avoidable deaths
Potentially Avoidable Deaths (PAD) are based on National Healthcare Agreement: PI 16-Potentially avoidable deaths.
Potentially avoidable deaths are those that occur before age 75 years and are caused by conditions that are potentially preventable through individualised care and/or treatable through existing primary or hospital care. Deaths are defined as avoidable in the context of the present health system.
- + Interventions: Potentially avoidable deaths
Interventions aimed at reducing potentially avoidable deaths in NSW are embedded in strategies dealing with specific health issues or specific disadvantaged populations. Variation in potentially avoidable death rates among health regions reflect the distribution of the underlying social and economic determinants of health which are associated with the geographic clustering of populations of lower socioeconomic status, high Aboriginal populations and populations with a high prevalence of disease risk factors. Other factors such as access to primary health care and other health services, particularly specialist treatment services may also contribute to this variation.
Health services are increasingly able to manage chronic diseases and prolong life and more conditions are regarded as amenable to health care. Because this trend should continue, the rate of potentially avoidable deaths is likely to continue to decrease in the short- to medium- term. Reductions in the longer term, however, depend upon sustainable declines in the risk factors which cause the greatest number of potentially avoidable deaths. Ongoing prevention programs are required to reduce the prevalence of these risk factors in the population, including smoking, obesity, inadequate physical activity and poor nutrition.