Hospital admissions are up according to a report released today by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW), with same day care admissions, especially to private hospitals accounting for a large part of the increase.
The report, Australian Hospital Statistics 2004-05, shows there were 7 million hospital admissions in 2004-05, a 2.6% increase over the previous financial year. The total number of days spent in hospital was 23.8 million - an increase of 1%.
Head of the AIHW's Hospitals Unit Ms Jenny Hargreaves says that 'same day admissions rose by 2% (to 2.1 million) in public hospitals and by 6.1% (to 1.7 million) in private hospitals.
Admissions for overnight stays, or longer, increased by 1.5% in public hospitals (to 2.2 million), and by 1.6% (to 1 million) in private hospitals.'
'Hospital admissions, particularly for same day care, have been following a long term rising trend.
'Between 1995-96 and 2004-05, same day hospital admissions rose from about 42% of the total to about 55% of the total - as a result they now account for 49% in public hospitals and 64% in private hospitals,' says Ms Hargreaves.
The increasing numbers of same day admissions means that the average length of stay is declining. In 2004-05, it was 3.4 days, compared with 3.7 days in 2000-01.
However, the average length of stay for patients staying at least one night has remained more constant. It was 6.3 days in 2004-05.
The report also provides statistics on many other aspects of hospital treatment, including public hospital emergency departments which provided care for about 5.9 million patient visits during 2004-05.
About half (53%) of all emergency department visits were by men, and young people aged 15-24 years accounted for the largest number of visits (15%).
Overall, 69% of patients were seen on time in emergency departments, including 100% of those needing immediate care, and 76% of those who required care within 10 minutes of arriving.
Total recurrent public hospital expenditure in 2004-05 was estimated at $21.8 billion, an increase (after adjusting for inflation) of 4.9% on the previous year.
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