Spending on public hospital services

In 2017–18, total recurrent expenditure on public hospital services was $71 billion (including depreciation).

About 55% of this amount was spent on admitted patient care, 20% on outpatient care, 10% on emergency care services, 2% on teaching, training and research, 2% on aged care and 10% on other activities.

After adjusting for inflation, national recurrent expenditure on public hospital services increased by 3.3% between 2016–17 and 2017–18.

Funding of public hospitals

The most recent funding data available from 2016–17 shows that, 92% of public hospitals services were funded by the  state/territory government and the Australian government. In contrast; 69% of private hospital funding came from non‑government sources.

Between 2012–13 and 2016–17, funding for public hospitals rose by 1.8% on average each year (after adjusting for inflation), from $50 billion to $54 billion. Funding for private hospitals rose by 2.9% on average each year, from $14 billion to $16 billion.

Staff in public hospitals

Nationally, 378,000 full-time equivalent staff were employed in providing public hospital services in 2017–18. About 42% of staff were Nurses (157,000) and 12% were Salaried medical officers (46,000).

Hospitals and average available beds

In 2017–18, there were 693 public hospitals in Australia, with 62,000 available beds. About one-third of public hospital beds were in principal referral hospitals (located mostly in metropolitan areas).

Between 2013–14 and 2017–18, the number of public hospital beds per 1,000 population remained relatively stable, fluctuating between 2.51 and 2.56 beds per 1,000.

There were 657 private hospitals (2016–17 data) with 34,300 licensed beds (including day hospital facilities).

Between 2012–13 and 2016–17, the number of licensed beds in private hospitals rose by 3.6% on average each year. The number of licensed beds per 1,000 population also increased during this period from 1.3 in 2012–13 to 1.4 in 2016–17.

Specialised service units

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

In 2017–18, the most common specialised service provided was Domiciliary care (home-based care, provided by 354 hospitals), followed by Nursing home care (285 hospitals). There were 82 Intensive care units (level III and above) and 32 Neonatal intensive care units (level III and above).