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Same-day admissions are rising at a faster rate than overnight admissions according to a report released today by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).

The report, Australian hospital statistics 2012-13, shows that there were almost 9.4 million hospital admissions in 2012-13-5.5 million in public hospitals and 3.8 million in private hospitals.

Between 2008-09 and 2012-13, same-day admissions rose by about 3.6% each year, compared with 2.7% each year for overnight admissions. Same-day admissions rose by 5% each year in private hospitals and 3% in public hospitals.

In the same period, subacute and non-acute admissions (such as rehabilitation care, palliative care and maintenance care) rose by an average of 13.7% each year for private hospitals and 8.2% a year for public hospitals.

'Private hospitals are providing more non-surgical care on a non-emergency basis. Admissions increased by 6.4% between 2008-09 and 2012-13, compared with 4.2% for public hospitals,' said AIHW spokesperson Nigel Harding.

There were 2.5 million admissions involving surgery in 2012-13. Of these, about 2 million were elective admissions and over two-thirds (67%) of these occurred in private hospitals.

'Indigenous Australians had a lower rate of elective surgery admissions compared with other Australians-58 per 1,000 people compared with 88 per 1,000,' Mr Harding said.

'With emergency admissions involving surgery, however, the admission rate for Indigenous Australians was about double the non-Indigenous rate at 27 per 1,000 people compared with 13 per 1,000 people.'

There were 746 public hospitals and 592 private hospitals in Australia in 2012-13.

Public hospitals spent over $42 billion in 2012-13. Spending on salaries (for about 274,700 employees) accounted for about 62% of recurrent expenditure.

'Public hospital expenditure rose by an average of 5% each year between 2008-09 and 2012-13, after adjusting for inflation,' Mr Harding said.

Between 2008-09 and 2012-13, the number of full time equivalent salaried medical officers employed in Australia's public hospitals rose by about 4.8% on average every year, compared with 2.7% for nurses and 2.7% for staff overall.

Summary information is presented in Australia's hospitals 2012-13 at a glance. It includes a snapshot of the main reasons for admission to hospitals - including injuries (6%), cancer (6%), pregnancy and childbirth (5%), respiratory problems (4%), and mental health issues (4%).

The AIHW is a major national agency set up by the Australian Government to provide reliable, regular and relevant information and statistics on Australia's health and welfare.

Canberra, 30 April 2014

Further information: Mr Nigel Harding, AIHW, tel. 02 6244 1025  mob. 0409 307 671

Full publications:

Australian hospital statistics 2012-13

Australia's hospitals 2012-13 at a glance | online version