Australian Hospital Statistics 2003–04 continues the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare’s (AIHW) series of summary reports describing the characteristics and activity of Australia’s hospitals. Reports have been published previously for the financial years 1993–94 to 2002–03 (AIHW 1997a, 1997b, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001a, 2002, 2003, 2004a).

This series of reports has been based on data supplied to the AIHW by the state and territory health authorities. Data are provided for the Institute’s:

  • National Public Hospital Establishments Database, covering resources, expenditure and revenue for public hospitals;
  • National Non-admitted Emergency Department Care Database, covering public hospital emergency department care and waiting times;
  • National Elective Surgery Waiting Times Data Collection, covering waiting times and other characteristics of elective surgery in public hospitals; and
  • National Hospital Morbidity Database, covering the diagnoses and other characteristics of admitted patients, and the care they receive in public and private hospitals.

The collection and reporting of the data in this report were undertaken by the AIHW under the auspices of the Australian Health Ministers’ Advisory Council through the National Health Information Agreement. Most of the data collected were as specified in the National Minimum Data Sets for Public Hospital Establishments, Non-admitted Patient Emergency Department Care, Elective Surgery Waiting Times and Admitted Patient Care. The data element definitions are as specified in the National Health Data Dictionary version 12 (NHDC 2003) for 2003–04.