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Hospitals spending tops $55bn a year

24 June, 2015

Recurrent hospital expenditure in Australia, for public and private hospitals combined, topped $55 billion in 2013–14, according to a report released today by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).

The report, Hospital resources 2013–14: Australian hospital statistics, shows that more than $44 billion was spent by public hospitals, and over $11 billion by private hospitals.

In 2013–14, there were 1,359 hospitals in Australia—747 public hospitals, accounting for 65per cent of hospital beds (58,600), and 612 private hospitals accounting for 35per cent of beds (31,000).

In the five years to 2013–14, recurrent expenditure by public hospitals rose by 4.4 per cent on average each year (after adjusting for inflation). Salaries for public hospital staff increased by an average of 3.4 per cent each year over the same period. For private hospitals, recurrent expenditure increased by an average of 3.4per cent between 2009-10 and 2013-14.

"Nationally, public hospitals employed more than 287,000 full-time equivalent staff in 2013–14," said AIHW spokesperson Jenny Hargreaves, who heads the Institute's Hospitals, Resourcing and Classifications Group.

"More than 130,000 nurses accounted for 45 per cent of public hospital staff, while more than 37,000 salaried medical officers comprised about 13 per cent."

"The average salary for nurses in public hospitals in 2013–14 was about $91,000 a year, and for salaried medical staff it was around $188,000."

The AIHW has also released a report detailing services provided for non-admitted patients by Australia's public hospitals.

Non-admitted patient care 2013–14: Australian hospital statistics shows that in 2013–14 about 46 million services for non-admitted patients were reported by 558 public hospitals.

More than six million were emergency services, 18 million were for outpatient care, and 22 million were for services such as pathology, pharmacy and community health services.

Between 2009–10 and 2013–14, the number of emergency services for non-admitted patients rose by an average of 2.6 per cent a year.

For the first time in 2013–14, more detailed information about users was available from outpatient services-some 39 per cent of services included this detailed data. Of these, 56 per cent were for females and 30 per cent were for people aged 65 and over. About four per cent of outpatient services were for Indigenous Australians.

In 2013–14, the most common outpatient services included midwifery and maternity (1.7 million services) and orthopaedics (960,000 services).

A third complementary report, Australia's hospitals 2013–14: at a glance, has also been released, summarising all information on hospitals published by the AIHW for 2013–14.

All three reports are available on the AIHW website.

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