Australians are bombarded with information about the size of the economy and the value of the stock market but there is scant data on issues of fundamental importance to their quality of life, for example time wasted in traffic jams, difficulty finding child care places or the steady rise in greenhouse gas emissions. In order to overcome these ‘information deficits’, The Australia Institute, a public policy think tank, is developing a range of new indicators under the umbrella of ‘Measuring what Matters’.
This paper presents the first data collected on one particular measure, namely access to primary health care. The paper begins by presenting new data on why people say they wish to see a doctor and then reports the degree of difficulty that Australians experience as to their ability to make appointments with doctors at a time that is appropriate. The paper concludes with new data suggesting that the majority of Australians would be willing to see a nurse practitioner for a wide range of services now commonly provided by doctors.