Admitted patients

Admitted patients are patients who undergo a public or private hospital’s formal admission process to receive treatment and/or care. The types of care provided include surgical care, medical care, intensive care, newborn care, rehabilitation care, palliative care, and mental health care.

Explore more details on the care provided to admitted patients via the links at the bottom of the page.

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How many hospitalisations were there?

Between 2014-15 and 2018–19, hospitalisations increased on average 3.3% per year (3.7% in public hospitals and 2.6% in private hospitals). There was a smaller year-on-year increase in patient days (1.9% on average per year in public and private hospitals), however patient days per 1,000 population decreased 0.3% on average each year over this time.

In 2018–19:

  • there were 11.5 million hospitalisations (episodes of admitted patient care) in Australia’s public and private hospitals—60% of these were in public hospitals
  • in public hospitals, a large proportion of hospitalisations were emergency admissions (43%), while in private hospitals, hospitalisations were more likely to be elective (81%)
  • public hospitals accounted for the majority of emergency admissions (92%), childbirth hospitalisations (77%) and medical hospitalisations (76%). Private hospitals accounted for 59% of surgical hospitalisations and 60% of mental health carehospitalisations
  • there were 2.3 million hospitalisations involving elective surgery—34% of these were in public hospitals and 66% in private hospitals

Almost half of admitted patient days were for older Australians

In 2018–19:

  • 43% of hospitalisations and 50% of patient days were for people aged 65 and over
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people made up 5% of hospitalisations (559,000), and they were hospitalised at 2.3 times the rate of other Australians
  • diseases of the digestive system accounted for 9.5% of hospitalisations (over 1.0 million) and diseases of the musculoskeletal system and connective tissue accounted for a further 7% of hospitalisations
  • in public hospitals, 84% of hospitalisations (5.8 million) were for public patients. The remaining 16% of hospitalisations were funded by other sources—the majority (882,000, 13%) were for patients who used private health insurance to fund all or part of their admission
  • in contrast, 83% of hospitalisations in private hospitals were funded by private health insurance, 7% were self-funded and 4% were public patients.