Hospitals are an important part of Australia’s health landscape, providing services to many Australians each year. A summary measure of their significant role is the amount that is spent on them—an estimated $66 billion in 2015–16, about 4% of Australia’s gross domestic product, or $2,741 per person (AIHW 2017c). Hospital spending has been increasing faster than inflation— it increased by 3.3% each year (adjusted for inflation), on average, between 2010–11 and 2015–16.

Access to our hospital services, the quality of the services, and their funding and management arrangements are under constant public scrutiny. This summary report presents an overview of statistics on our hospitals to inform public discussion and debate on these issues.

While most data presented in this report are for 2016–17, data for hospital funding and for private hospital resources were for 2015–16.

More detailed statistics and information on how to interpret the data are in the companion reports:

  • Elective surgery waiting times 2016–17: Australian hospital statistics (AIHW 2017a)
  • Emergency department care 2016–17: Australian hospital statistics (AIHW 2017b)
  • Staphylococcus aureus bacteraemia in Australia’s hospitals 2016–17: Australian hospital statistics (AIHW 2017c).
  • Admitted patient care 2016–17: Australian hospital statistics (AIHW 2018a)
  • Hospital resources 2016–17: Australian hospital statistics (AIHW 2018b)
  • Non-admitted patient care 2016–17: Australian hospital statistics (AIHW 2018c).

Information on private hospital resources and private hospital emergency department activity was sourced from the Australian Bureau of Statistics’ publication Private hospitals, Australia, 2015–16 (ABS 2017).

Further detail is also available in spread sheets and interactive data cubes online from AIHW. Selected hospital-level information.