Providing access to appropriate and timely health care is an integral component of hospital care. This section explores several measures of access to Australia’s hospitals including waiting times for selected services.
Explore more information about access to hospitals via the links at the bottom of the page.
What is access to health care?
Access to health care is defined as "delivery of health care that is timely, geographically reasonable, and provided in a setting where skills and resources are appropriate to medical need" (WHO 2006).
Hospitals data collections include information on several measures of access, including:
What services do hospitals offer?
Australia’s hospitals provide a range of services for:
Hospitals in Australia
In 2018–19, there were 692 public and 657 private hospitals in Australia.
Non-admitted patient care
In 2018–19, 602 public hospitals and 28 other services provided 39 million non-admitted patient care service events.
Emergency department care
In 2019–20, emergency department waiting times differed by where a person lived.
Elective surgery waiting times
In 2018–19, rates of admission and waiting times for admission from public hospital elective surgery waiting lists, differed by remoteness area of usual residence and SES.
Reference: WHO (2006) Quality of care: a process for making strategic choices in health systems. WHO, Paris.
More data about access to hospitals is available to explore in the Info & downloads section.
Definitions of the terms used in this section are available in the Glossary.
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