There were 1,326 hospitals in Australia in 2009–10. The 753 public hospitals accounted for 67% of hospital beds (56,900) and the 573 private hospitals accounted for 33% (28,000), these proportions are unchanged from 2008–09.

Accident and emergency services

Public hospitals provided about 7.4 million accident and emergency services in 2009–10, increasing by 4% on average each year between 2005–06 and 2009–10. Overall, 70% of patients were seen on time in emergency departments, with 100% of resuscitation patients (those requiring treatment immediately) being seen within 2 minutes of arriving at the emergency department.

Admitted patient care

There were 8.5 million separations for admitted patients in 2009–10—5.1 million in public hospitals and almost 3.5 million in private hospitals. This was an increase of 3.2% on average each year between 2005–06 and 2009–10 for public hospitals, and 5.0% for private hospitals.

The proportion of admissions that were 'same-day' continued to increase, by 5% on average each year between 2005–06 and 2009–10, accounting for 58% of the total in 2009–10 (51% in public hospitals and 68% in private hospitals). For overnight separations, the average length of stay was 5.9 days in 2009–10, down from 6.2 days in 2005–06.

About 4% of separations were for non-acute care. Between 2005–06 and 2009–10, Rehabilitation care in private hospitals increased by 19% on average each year and Geriatric evaluation and management in public hospitals increased by 11% on average each year.

Readmissions to the same public hospital varied with the type of surgery. There were 24 readmissions per 1,000 separations for knee replacement and 4 per 1,000 separations for cataract surgery.

Elective surgery

There were 1.9 million admissions for planned (elective) surgery in 2009–10. There were about 30 separations per 1,000 population for public elective surgery each year between 2005–06 and 2009–10; rates for other elective surgery increased from about 49 per 1,000 to 55 per 1,000 over that time. Half of the patients admitted for elective surgery in public hospitals waited 36 days or less after being placed on the waiting list, an increase from 32 days in 2005–06.

Expenditure and funding

Public hospitals spent about $33.7 billion in 2009–10. Adjusted for inflation, expenditure increased by an average of 5.4% each year between 2005–06 and 2009–10. In 2008–09, states and territories were the source of 54% of funds for public hospitals and the Commonwealth government funded 38%. This compared with the figures of 54% and 39%, respectively, in 2007–08.

Between 2005–06 and 2009–10, public patient separations increased by 2.8% on average each year, those funded by Private health insurance increased by 6.4%, while those funded by the Department of Veterans' Affairs decreased by 1.3%.