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28 Aug 2019

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare has released its Hospitals at a Glance 2017-18 report.

The statistics reveal there were 11.3 million hospitalisations in public and private hospitals combined in that 12-month period. Of all hospitalisations, 2.0 per cent involved a hospital-acquired complication.

A total of $71 billion (excluding depreciation) was spent on public hospital services; and eight million patients presented to emergency departments.

“Hospitals are an important part of Australia’s health landscape, providing services to many Australians each year. A summary measure of their significant role is the amount that is spent on them—an estimated $69 billion in 2016–17, about 4 per cent of Australia’s gross domestic product, or $3,046 per person,” the report states.

“Hospital spending has increased faster than inflation—up 2.8 per cent each year (adjusted for inflation), on average, between 2011–12 and 2016–17.”

The AMA has repeatedly called for public hospitals to be better resourced and funded.

“The 2019 AMA Public Hospital Report Card, which was released to great effect early in the May election campaign, has become reality television with regular news headlines of underfunding, ambulance ramping, and long patient waits,” AMA President Dr Tony Bartone said.

“The public hospital crisis has been rolling out on the evening news across most States and Territories in the months since the election.

“The Report Card painted a picture of hospitals and staff under enormous pressure, and patients waiting too long for care, and it is all true – an awful reality.

“Both levels of government need to stop the political games and start funding public hospitals to meet demand for public hospital services.”

The AMA’s 2019 AMA Public Hospital Report Card can be found at:

The AIHW’s summary report  can be found at

2017-18 and presents an overview of statistics on access to hospital

services, the quality of the services, and their funding and management arrangements.


Published: 28 Aug 2019