Evaluation of the National External Breast Prostheses Reimbursement Program

4.3.1 Information about the program

Page last updated: 05 November 2010

Survey respondents were asked to give both the availability and usefulness of information on the program a rating out of 5. As can be seen in figure 10, over 75% gave the program a favourable score (ie 3 to 5 out of 5). The usefulness of the information was rated more favourably, with over 85% of respondents giving a favourable score.

  • Among respondents, some groups gave higher ratings of the information than others. Availability of information was rated less favourably by women aged 70 years and over (68%) than those aged 50 to 69 years (87%) and those aged up to 49 years (79%). A similar pattern was found in relation to usefulness of information: less favourable ratings were given by respondents aged 70 years and over (67%) than those aged 50 to 69 years (91%) and up to 49 years (83%).

  • The availability of information about the program was also rated less favourably by women who had had a partial mastectomy (75%) or double mastectomy (70%) than those who had had a full mastectomy (84%).
It was suggested by women that greater promotion of the program is needed (also discussed in section 3.4.1). It is apparent that levels of awareness of the program are inconsistent and depends to some extent on contact with breast care nurses. This was highlighted through the following comments made by women:

"This program seems to not be [reaching] women who have had breast cancer and are over 65 years old."

"The program is good but should have been advertised more widely. The lymphedema group I am in [generally don't know] about the program."

"I heard about the program from the breast care nurse only… A woman who had a lumpectomy then another lumpectomy a week later, then a mastectomy a week later at the same hospital as myself did not know that prostheses were available let alone that they were government supported."

It is also noteworthy that members of an Arabic speaking focus group had very limited awareness of the program, which may suggest barriers relating to language spoken need specific attention.

It was also suggested that advertising in Medicare offices lacked impact:

"Access to me was unknown to me until I saw a tiny notice on a Medicare counter."

"I thought that there wasn't enough advertising about the scheme in the [Medicare Australia] office in Melbourne where I lodged the claim."
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Figure 10 – On a scale of 1 to 5, where 5 is the best score, how would you rate the following aspects of the program? (n= 214)

Text version of figure 10

The usefulness of information about the program

Not sure1

The availability of information about the program

Not sure0