There were 1,340 hospitals in Australia in 2010–11. The 752 public hospitals accounted for 68% of hospital beds (57,772) and the 588 private hospitals accounted for about 32% of beds (28,000 private hospital beds based on 2009–10 data).

Expenditure and funding

Public hospitals spent about $37 billion in 2010–11. Adjusted for inflation, expenditure increased by an average of 5.9% each year between 2006–07 and 2010–11, and by 8.2% between 2009–10 and 2010–11.

Emergency department services

Between 2006–07 and 2010–11, the number of emergency occasions of service provided by public hospitals increased from 6.7 million to 7.7 million (3.2% increase each year). Over this period, the proportion of presentations treated within an appropriate time, the median waiting time and the proportion ending in admission remained relatively stable. The time by which 90% of presentations were seen decreased from 120 minutes to 114 minutes.

Outpatient services

Public hospitals provided about 16.7 million specialist outpatient clinic service in 2010–11, increasing by 2% on average each year between 2006–07 and 2010–11. They also provided 17.2 million services for pharmacy, pathology, radiology and organ imaging.

Admitted patient care

In 2010–11 there were 8.9 million separations for admitted patients—5.3 million in public hospitals and 3.6 million in private hospitals. This was an increase of 3.2% on average each year between 2006–07 and 2010–11 for public hospitals, and 5.0% for private hospitals. Between 2009–10 and 2010–11 (after adjusting for some coverage changes), separations increased in public hospitals by 4.1% and in private hospitals by 3.9%.

The proportion of admissions that were 'same-day' continued to increase, by 4% on average each year between 2006–07 and 2010–11. They accounted for 58% of the total in 2010–11 (51% in public hospitals and 68% in private hospitals).

In 2010–11, persons aged 65 and over accounted for 38% of separations and 48% of patient days. For persons aged 85 and over, there was an overall increase of 41% in separations between 2006–07 and 2010–11, an average increase of 9% each year.


In 2010–11 there were 2.2 million admissions that involved a surgical procedure. Of these, about 280,000 were emergency admissions. About two-thirds of elective admissions involving surgery occurred in private hospitals. In contrast, about 87% of emergency admissions involving surgery were in public hospitals.

Indigenous Australians had about twice the rate of emergency admissions involving surgery compared with other Australians.

Between 2006–07 and 2010–11, elective admissions involving surgery increased by about 4% on average each year and emergency admissions increased by about 3% each year.