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A new report from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) shows that there were well over 9 million admissions to Australian hospitals in 2013-14, and this figure is on the rise.

The report, Admitted patient care 2013-14: Australian hospital statistics, shows that of the 9.7 million admissions to hospitals in 2013-14, 5.7 million were in public hospitals and 4 million were in private hospitals.

'While the majority of hospital admissions in Australia in 2013-14 were to public hospitals, the number of admissions to private hospitals is increasing at a faster rate,' said AIHW spokesperson Jenny Hargreaves.

'Between 2009-10 and 2013-14, the number of admissions increased by 3% on average each year for public hospitals and 3.6% for private hospitals.'

In total, the 9.7 million hospital admissions in 2013-14 were associated with almost 27.9 million days of patient care-18.8 million and 9.1 million in public and private hospitals, respectively.

'Between 2009-10 and 2013-14, the number of days of patient care increased at a slower rate than admissions-by about 1% each year,' Ms Hargreaves said.

'Indigenous Australians were hospitalised at more than twice the rate of other Australians,' Ms Hargreaves said.

The report shows that about one in four admissions involved surgery, and 60% of these occurred in private hospitals.

'About 6% of hospitalisations were potentially preventable and a further 6% were for injury or poisoning,' Ms Hargreaves said.

In 2013-14, the most common single reason for care was dialysis for kidney disease (1.3 million admissions) and these increased by 3.9% on average each year between 2009-10 and 2013-14.

For the first time, information is included on intensive care. In 2013-14, about 2% of public hospital admissions involved a stay in an intensive care unit, with an average length of stay of just under 4 days.

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, 19 March 2015

Further information: Ms Jenny Hargreaves, AIHW, tel. 02 6244 1121 mob. 0407 012 520

Full publication: Admitted patient care 2013-14: Australian hospital statistics