Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Hospitals busier than ever.

Download PDFDownload PDF


Minister for Health and Ageing


30 June 2010

Hospitals Busier Than Ever

The 2010 State of Our Public Hospitals report shows that our hospitals are busier than ever.

Admissions have grown by 17 per cent, from just over four million to almost five million a year since 2004. Emergency department presentations have grown by 22 per cent, from almost six million to more than seven million a year over the same period. According to the ABS, between 2003-04 and 2008-09, Australia's population grew 8.2 per cent.

The cost of an average hospital admission has increased by 14 per cent over and above inflation from $3,930 to $4,471 in 2008-09 prices.

Our hospitals simply cannot sustain such an increase in patient numbers and costs without the fundamental system-wide reforms that the Government is delivering.

These statistics underline how much our hospitals need more investment, reform and support, not more health cuts promised by Mr Abbott.

The report clearly shows that too many people waited too long for their elective surgery procedures under the previous Government, but that this Government’s ambitious plan to treat more elective surgery patients and to treat them within clinically recommended times is delivering results.

Under the Liberal Government only 527,000 people received elective surgery in 2003-04. After the new Government’s elective surgery blitz that number jumped to 595,000 in 2008-09.

86% of these surgeries were done within the clinically recommended time, an increase of 2 percentage points over the previous year. This shows the system is making progress towards the Government’s new target of 95% of all elective surgeries being completed within clinically recommended times.

These reports give an overview of national hospital performance in the previous financial year along with limited long term reporting. However the report lacks some important details and the performance of individual hospitals is unavailable.

Once established, the National Performance Authority, as part of the National Health and Hospitals Network, will provide regular reports on the performance of every public and private hospital, on every Local Hospital Network and on local primary care services.

These and other reforms are an important part of the Government’s National Health and Hospitals Network and will help deliver better health and better hospitals for Australian families.

The State of our Public Hospitals, June 2010 report is available from ing.nsf/Content/sooph10.

For all media inquiries, please contact the Minister's Office on 02 6277 7220.