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Trend to shorter hospital stays continues

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Releases - 1999 - Australian Hospital Statistics 199/-V8 (AiHW) ra g e i o i f.

.jfc, For health and welfare statistics and Information

▼ Australian Institute AIHW of Health and Welfare

Releases - 1999 -

Trend to shorter hospital stays continues

Hospital stays of less than one day - same day separations - are now almost half (46%) of all " hospital separations, and have increased by 52% since 1993-94 according to Australian hospital statistics 1997-98, to be released on 30 June by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. The average length of stay in hospital also continues to decline: from 4.6 days in 1993-94 to 4.1 days in


Report co-author, Ms Jenny Hargreaves, said that with shorter stays more patients are going through hospitals. Between 1996-97 and 1997-98 separations from public acute hospitals increased by 3% and from private hospitals by 6%. Nearly a third of overall patient separations were from

private hospitals^.

Conditions relating to the five national health priority areas - cardiovascular health, cancer control, injury prevention and control, mental health, and diabetes - made up 41% of total patient days in 1997-98, representing more than 9 million patient days.

Australian hospital statistics 1997-98 also looks at public hospital expenditure. The report’s co­ author, Dr Janis Shaw said that $13 billion was spent on hospital services in 1997-98, representing a real increase in spending of 5% (expenditure in 1996-97 was $12.2 billion).

Other findings in Australian hospital statistics 1997-98 include:

• One bed was available for every 332 Australians, ranging from one bed for every 211 people in remote areas to one bed for every 366 people in metropolitan areas. • About 68% of hospital patients were treated in public hospitals during 1997-98, compared with 72% in 1993-94. • Less than one in 10 public hospital patients were private patients, compared to one in six in

1993-94. • In 1997-98 people aged over 65 comprised 12% of the total population, but accounted for 31% of total hospital separations, and 46% of patient days. • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples were reported to have almost twice the

separation rate of the overall Australian population, 86% higher, after allowing for age structure (although the quality of Indigenous identification is not yet acceptable).

Canberra, 25 June 1999

Embargo: Strictly not for publication before 3.00 p.m., Wednesday 30 June 1999. Further information: Ms Jenny Hargreaves, ph. 02 6244 1121, or Dr Janis Shaw, ph. 02 6244 1120. For media copies of the report: Lena Searle, ph. 02 6244 1032. Availability: Check the AIHW Publications Catalogue for availability, or this web site for a PDF version. 02/07/1999