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Before the mid-1980s, hospital statistics were not regularly compiled on a national basis. There had been few efforts to ensure that definitions and terms used in the states and territories were consistent, and attempts at comparing the performance of the public hospital sectors of the states and territories had been difficult.

Since then governments and other hospital funders have taken an increasing interest in the monitoring and planning of hospital service provision in Australia and, specifically, in containing the costs of hospitals, measuring their outputs and ensuring their services are efficient, appropriate and of high quality. As a result, statistics on Australian hospitals and their patients have had an increasingly important role to play at the Australian Commonwealth and state and territory level, and within the private sector.

The Institute compiles and reports on a range of data on hospitals, detailing the characteristics of public hospitals, non-admitted patient care, admitted patients and the care they receive in hospital, and elective surgery and emergency department waiting times.

The Institute takes active steps to improve the national consistency of these data over time.

Recent reports

Australia’s hospitals 2014–15 at a glance provides a summary of the detailed information presented in all of the Australian hospitals statistics reports for 2014–15.

Non-admitted patient care 2014–15: Australian hospital statistics presents information on services provided for non-admitted patients by Australia’s public hospitals. Non-admitted patient care includes emergency occasions of service for non-admitted patients, outpatient care (including specialist clinics) and other non-admitted patient care (such as the dispensing of medication, provision of diagnostic procedures, district nursing and community health services).

Hospital resources 2014–15: Australian hospital statistics presents a detailed overview of the public and private hospital resources in Australia, covering the number and types of hospitals and availability of beds. It also describes public hospitals in terms of expenditure and revenue, the number of full-time equivalent staff employed and specialised services provided.

Admitted patient care 2014–15: Australian hospital statistics summarises the latest data on admitted patients in public and private hospitals. It illustrates changes in hospital activity over time, including time series for individual states and territories, and some differences between hospitals in the public and private sectors.

Staphylococcus aureus bacteraemia in Australian public hospitals 2014–15: Australian hospital statistics presents information on hospital-associated Staphylococcus aureus bacteraemia infections in public hospitals for the period 1 July 2014 to 30 June 2015.

Emergency department care 2014–15: Australian hospital statistics summarises data relating to emergency department care in major public hospitals for the period 1 July 2014 to 30 June 2015.

Elective surgery waiting times: Australian hospital statistics 2014–15 summarises data relating to elective surgery waiting times in public hospitals for the period 1 July 2014 to 30 June 2015. 

Data quality

States and territories are primarily responsible for the quality of the data they provide. However, the AIHW undertakes extensive validations on receipt of data, and potential errors are queried with jurisdictions. Corrections and resubmissions may be made in response to these queries. Except as noted, the AIHW does not adjust data to account for possible data errors or missing or incorrect values.

It should be noted that the statistics presented in the AIHW reports based on these data may be updated online due to revisions to the underlying data provided by the states and territories.