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Introduction

Hospitals are an important part of Australia's health landscape, providing services to many Australians each year. A summary measure of their significance is the amount that is spent on them—an estimated $53.5 billion in 2011–12, about 3.6% of Australia's gross domestic product, or about $2,377 per person (AIHW 2013a). Hospital spending has been increasing faster than inflation—adjusted for inflation, it increased by 5.2% each year, on average, between 2006–07 and 2011–12.

Access to our hospital services, the quality of the services, and their funding and management arrangements are under constant public scrutiny. This summary report presents an overview of statistics on our hospitals that inform public discussion and debate.

While most data in this report are for 2012-13, 2013-14 data have been included for elective surgery waiting times and emergency department services. Some data for private hospitals and for hospital funding were only available for 2011-12.

More detailed statistics and information on how to interpret the data is in the companion report, Australian hospital statistics 2012–13 (AIHW 2014). Further detail is also available in spreadsheets and interactive data cubes.

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Australia's hospitals 2012–13: at a glance 

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