Hospital re-admission rates are an indicator of the quality of health-care provision and have important implications for policy makers and health care planners.

This report examines the overall rate of re-admissions for asthma within 28 days in Australia, looking at time trends and differences according to age, sex, socioeconomic status and remoteness of residence.

Data was obtained from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) National Hospital Morbidity Database. Record linkage analysis was used to identify re-admissions for asthma and the effect of sociodemographic factors were estimated using logistic regression.

Nationwide (excluding Queensland, data for which was not included in this report) re-admission rates for asthma remained stable between 1996–97 and 2004–05. The rate of re-admissions for asthma increased as the level of socioeconomic status decreased and varied by remoteness of residence.

These findings have implications for assessing health system performance in relation to asthma and suggest the need for further research using sub-state analysis of re-admission rates for asthma.