This report describes trends in the occurrence of injuries requiring hospitalisation in Australia from 1 July 1999 to 30 June 2014. The annual number of cases rose from about 327,000 to 484,000 during this period.

Injuries in 2014–15

Overall, injuries were more common among males (266,951 cases) than females (216,722 cases). Case numbers and population-based rates were higher for males than for females for all age groups to 65–69, the largest difference being for ages 20–24. Rates were higher for females than for males for age groups 65–69 and older. The highest rates occurred at 85–89 years.

There were an estimated 23,182 cases due to injury and poisoning for Indigenous people during 2014–15. More males than females were hospitalised (1.3:1). Rates of injury among Indigenous people (3,593 cases per 100,000) were twice those of non-Indigenous people (1,922 cases per 100,000) in 2014–15.

The average length of stay in hospital as a result of an injury was 4 days (more than 1.7 million days for the 484,000 cases). About 1 in 6 injury cases were classified as ‘high threat to life’. Two per cent of hospitalised injury cases involved time in an intensive care unit at an average of 82 hours per case.

Two of the main causes of injury in 2014–15 were Falls (41%) and transport crashes (12%). Almost 200,000 people were hospitalised as a result of a fall in 2014–15. Females made up just over half (112,075) of all Fall cases. Transport crash injuries were more common in males (38,947 cases) than in females (19,643 cases) and rates were highest for the 20–24 age group.

Trends in injury cases

The age-standardised rate of injury increased from 1999–00 to 2014–15 by an average of 1% per year. The rate of injury was 1,715 cases per 100,000 population at the beginning of the period, and by the end the rate was 1,966 per 100,000.

Increases in age-standardised rates across the period were found for injuries due to Falls (a 2.8% increase per year from 2002–03); Exposure to inanimate mechanical forces (a 0.7% increase per year from 1999–00); Exposure to animate mechanical forces (a 2.9% increase per year from 1999–00); and Intentional self-harm (a 0.5% increase per year from 1999–00). Significant decreases occurred in the rate of hospitalised cases due to Accidental poisoning (a 3.0% decrease per year from 1999–00); Assault (a 0.9% decrease per year from 1999–00); Thermal causes of injury (a 0.5% decrease per year from 1999–00) and Drowning and submersion (a 0.3% decrease per year from 1999–00). No significant trends were observed for transport-related injuries.