Unmet need for GP services due to a lack of transport

This section presents statistics on people who had a medical problem but did not visit a GP due to a lack of transport, in the previous 12 months.

Transport is important for connecting people to healthcare services, as well as education, family, community, shops and recreation. Not being able to access healthcare when needed can lead to an unmet need, and a potential worsening of health.

About 148,000 New Zealanders missed out on a GP visit due to no transport in 2016/17

In 2016/17, 2.6% of children and 3.2% of adults had a medical problem but did not visit a GP due to a lack of transport, in the past 12 months. This is about 24,000 children and 124,000 adults.

There has been little change between 2011/12 (3.0% of children and 3.4% of adults) and 2016/17 (Figure 1).  

Figure 1: Unmet need for GP services due to a lack of transport in the past 12 months, 2011/12 – 2016/17 (unadjusted prevalence and 95% confidence intervals)
Fig 1: Unmet need for GP services due to a lack of transport in the past 12 months, 2011/12 – 2016/17 (unadjusted prevalence and 95% confidence intervals)

Women more likely to experience an unmet GP need due to lack of transport

In 2016/17, women had higher rates of unmet GP need due to a lack of transport (4.2%) than men (2.2%). 

People aged 25–34 years had the highest rates of unmet GP need due to a lack of transport (Figure 2).

Figure 2: Unmet need for GP services due to a lack of transport in the past 12 months, by age group, 2016/17 (unadjusted prevalence and 95% confidence intervals)
Fig 2: Unmet need for GP services due to a lack of transport in the past 12 months, by age group, 2016/17 (unadjusted prevalence and 95% confidence intervals)

More than 7% of Māori and Pacific adults affected

Māori and Pacific peoples had much higher rates of unmet GP need due to a lack of transport than other ethnic groups. In 2016/17, this unmet need affected:

  • 7.8% of Pacific adults and 4.5% of Pacific childen
  • 7.5% of Māori adults and 4.8% of Māori children
  • 2.9% of Asian adults and 0.6% of Asian children
  • 2.3% of European/Other adults and 1.8% of European/Other children.

Higher levels of unmet need for people living in the most deprived areas 

People living in the most deprived areas (NZDep2013 quintile 5) were much more likely than other people to have had an unmet GP need due to lack of transport (Figure 3).

In 2016/17, 4.8% of children and 7.2% of adults living in the most deprived areas had an unmet GP need due to a lack of transport in the past 12 months. 

Figure 3: Unmet need for GP services due to a lack of transport in the last 12 months, by socioeconomic deprivation (NZDep2013 quintiles), 2016/17 (unadjusted prevalence and 95% confidence intervals)
Fig 3: Unmet need for GP services due to a lack of transport in the last 12 months, by socioeconomic deprivation (NZDep2013 quintiles), 2016/17 (unadjusted prevalence and 95% confidence intervals) 

Hawke's Bay and Northland DHBs had higher levels of this unmet need in 2014–17

In 2014–17, rates of unmet GP need due to a lack of transport were significantly higher than the national rates in the following district health boards (DHBs) (Figure 4):

  • Northland (6.9% of children, 5.1% of adults)
  • Hawke's Bay (5.2% of children, 5.6% of adults) 
  • Counties Manukau (4.3% of children).

Figure 4: Unmet need for GP services due to lack of transport in the last 12 months, by District Health Board (DHB), 2014–17 (unadjusted prevalence and 95% confidence intervals)
Fig 4: Unmet need for GP services due to lack of transport in the last 12 months, by District Health Board (DHB), 2014–17 (unadjusted prevalence and 95% confidence intervals)

Information about the data

Unmet need for GP services due to a lack of transport

Source: New Zealand Health Survey (2011/12–2016/17), Ministry of Health

Definition: Children aged 0–14 years and adults aged 15+ years who had a medical problem but did not visit a GP due to a lack of transport, in the past 12 months. 

For more information, visit the Ministry of Health's webpage on the New Zealand Health Survey.

Data can be found from the Ministry of Health's webpage on the 2016/17 New Zealand Health Survey. The DHB data is available on the Ministry of Health's  Regional Results 2014-17: New Zealand Health Survey webpage.  

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