In 2014–15, there were 1,322 hospitals in Australia. The 698 public hospitals accounted for 66% of hospital beds (60,300) and the 624 private hospitals accounted for 34% (31,800).

How diverse were public hospitals?

In 2014–15, the 698 public hospitals were very diverse in size and the type of services they provided. They ranged from the 30 Principal referral hospitals to the 8 Outpatient hospitals, 8 Early parenting centres and 20 Psychiatric hospitals. All states and territories had at least one Principal referral hospital and at least one Public acute group A hospital. Specialist women's and children's hospitals were located in New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, Western Australia and South Australia, as were the specialist Psychiatric hospitals.

In 2014–15, there were 138 local hospital networks. Many networks consisted of a single public hospital (particularly in Victoria, and these were included in the counts of hospitals), and others consisted of a Principal referral or Public acute group A hospital and a number of smaller and/or specialised hospitals.

What specialised service units were provided by public hospitals?

Public hospitals provide a range of specialised units that deliver specific types of services for admitted and non-admitted patients.

In 2014–15, domiciliary care (home-based care, provided by 390 hospitals) was the most common specialised service provided by public hospitals, followed by nursing home care (285 hospitals). There were 81 intensive care units (level III), and 27 neonatal intensive care units (level III).

How much did hospitals spend?

In 2014–15, recurrent expenditure on public hospital services by hospitals, local hospital networks and state and territory health authorities was about $57 billion (including depreciation, and excluding non-hospital expenditure for Queensland). About 57% of recurrent expenditure was for admitted patient care, 17% for outpatient care, 10% for emergency care services and about 2% for teaching, training and research.

Recurrent expenditure for private hospitals was more than $12 billion in 2014–15.

How were hospitals funded?

In 2013–14, public hospitals were mainly funded by the Australian (37%) and state or territory (54%) governments, with about 9%of funding coming from non-government sources. In contrast, about 66% of private hospital funding came from non-government sources.

Between 2009–10 and 2013–14, funding for public hospitals rose by 4.2% on average each year (after adjusting for inflation), from about $39 billion to $46 billion. Funding for private hospitals rose by 5.0% on average each year, from about $11 billion to $13 billion. Comprehensive funding information for 2014–15 is not yet available.

How many people were employed in public and private hospitals?

Nationally, public hospitals employed about 302,000 full-time equivalent staff in 2014–15. Nurses accounted for 46% (138,000) of public hospital staff, while Salaried medical officers represented about 13% (39,000) of the public hospital labour force.

There were 64,400 staff in private hospitals in 2014–15. Nurses accounted for about 56% of them.