Research - Development of BEACH Statistical Evaluation Areas (SEAs)

Introduction

In the national BEACH program a sample of 1,000 GPs participate per year. The national data are widely published as the reference point about general practice activity.

However, GP Divisions need more localised data to assist them in evaluating the impact of their programs. We need a minimum of 40 participating GPs (on average) to describe the activities of a group of GPs (because of wide variance between individual GPs).

Few Divisions are of sufficient size to gain a minimum sample of 40 participating GPs per year. Exceptions are large Divisions such as Brisbane North.

Aim

To develop BEACH Statistical Evaluation Areas (SEAs) that are made up of multiple Divisions that are similar in terms of their classification in:

  • the Australian standard geographical classification (ASGC);
  • the Socio-economic index for areas (SEIFA);
  • the Rural, Remote and Metropolitan Area classification (RRMA)

in a manner that provides sufficient statistical power to make valid comparisons and monitor trends in the local area.

Method

Queensland was selected as the trial State. Each postcode was allocated fully/ partially to a Division. For each Division we considered:

  • average annual BEACH GP sample size
  • geographic proximity to other Divisions
  • pattern of SEIFA, RRMA class and ASGC of postcodes within each Division.

Results

We experienced difficulties with postcode splits across Divisions, and wide variation in SEIFA, RRMA and ASGC classes within any single Division. We developed a draft proposal of five SEAs for Queensland. Queensland Divisions of General Practice (QDGP) considered the proposal, and based on local knowledge suggested some changes to the SEA groupings. These were adopted. The revised proposal was distributed to all Queensland Divisions (through the QDGP) with a request for criticisms and comments. The suggestions were considered, but none were adopted because of their negative effect on other SEAs.

The final SEAs for Queensland are summarised below. The other states and territories will be reviewed as time and funding permits.

Code
Statistical Evaluation Areas (SEA)
Rural
416 Northern & Western Queensland Primary Health Care
417 Far North Queensland Rural Division of General Practice Assn Inc
410 Central Queensland Rural Division of General Practice Assn Inc
412 Townsville Division of General Practice Ltd
413 The Cairns Division of General Practice Ltd
414

Southern Queensland Rural Division of General Practice Assn Inc

Provincial
411 Mackay Division of General Practice Ltd
418 Sunshine Coast Division of General Practice Assn Ltd
419 Capricornia Division of General Practice Ltd
420 Wide Bay Division of General Practice
Satellites
406 Gold Coast Division of General Practice Ltd
407 The Redcliffe Bribie Caboolture Division of General Practice Assn
408 Ipswich and West Moreton Division of General Practice
409 Toowoomba and District Division of General Practice Ltd
Southern Metro
401 The Assn of the Brisbane Inner South Division of General Practice Inc
402 The Brisbane Southside Central Division of General Practice Assn Inc
403 Association of Bayside GP Division (Brisbane) Inc.
404 Logan Area Division of General Practice Ltd
Brisbane North
405 Brisbane North Division of General Practice Assn Inc