Diabetes has been estimated to affect around one million Australians and is reportedly increasing in prevalence. Australian hospitals data help to give an indication of the impact of diabetes on health service use. This report presents information on Australian hospital statistics for people with diabetes; trends are presented for 1996–97 to 1998–99 and for 2000–01 to 2003–04, and data for 2003–04 are examined for a number of key characteristics. The key findings below relate to hospitalisations involving diabetes—that is where diabetes was a principal or additional diagnosis:

  • Hospitalisations increased by 19–20% between 2000–01 and 2003–04.
  • The average length of hospital stay was over three times the overall average.
  • Type 2 cases accounted for nearly six out of every seven hospitalisations with a diagnosis of diabetes.
  • Diabetes was most commonly associated with hospitalisations for ‘diseases of the circulatory system’ (such as coronary heart disease and stroke) and ‘factors influencing health and contact with health services’ (which includes dialysis).
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples had substantially higher hospitalisation rates than other Australians.
  • Hospitalisation rates rose with increasing socioeconomic disadvantage and increasing remoteness.