5 Jul 2012

Maori less likely to put off doctor visits - study

7:27 am on 5 July 2012

An Otago University study has found Maori are less likely to put off going to the doctor because of the cost compared with Pakeha, but are more likely to defer picking up a prescription.

The study looked at more than 18,000 adults, of whom 15% were Maori.

The university's pro-vice-chancellor of health sciences, Peter Crampton, says the study found that, overall, women are more likely than men to delay going to the doctor, buy prescriptions or visit the dentist due to financial reasons even though they tend to suffer from more chronic health conditions.

The study found that 19.9% of women defer going to a doctor because they cannot afford it compared to 11.4% of men.

Professor Crampton, the study co-author, says the findings are a worry, not only because they show many women are not seeking the care they need, but also because women are often responsible for the health needs of children and elderly people.

He says providing free or very low cost primary health care would help solve the problem.

Professor Crampton says the income levels of the different groups weren't relevant to the findings, because they were factored in before the study results were calculated.