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ANZ J Surg. 2005 May;75(5):265-9.

Inequalities in rural health care: differences in surgical intervention between metropolitan and rural Western Australia.

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Centre for Health Services Research, School of Population Health, The University of Western Australia, Crawley, WA 6009, Australia.



To compare surgical procedure rates between metropolitan and rural/remote residents in Western Australia (WA).


The WA Data Linkage System was used to identify all patients who underwent a procedure for cataract, ureteric calculi or urinary outflow obstruction symptoms for the time periods 1981-2000, 1981-1997 and 1981-1995, respectively. Age-standardized procedure rates were calculated and Poisson regression modelling was used to estimate effects of locality of residence and demographic covariates.


Overall, rural/remote patients underwent first-time procedures for cataract (IRR 0.92; 95% CI 0.90-0.94), ureteric calculi (0.76; 0.72-0.80), or urinary outflow obstruction (0.71; 0.69-0.74) less frequently than patients in the metropolitan area. They were also significantly less likely to undergo multiple procedures for cataracts (0.90; 0.88-0.91) and ureteric calculi (0.69; 0.67-0.73).


A distinctly reduced level of surgical intervention was found in rural patients for three generally non-life threatening conditions. The reasons for this require further investigation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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