During 2011-12, Australia's 753 public hospitals accounted for about 68% of hospital beds, according to this detailed overview of Australia's public and private hospitals.
Expenditure and funding
Public hospitals spent over $40 billion in 2011-12. Adjusted for inflation, expenditure increased by an average of 5.9% each year between 2007-08 and 2011-12.
Emergency department services
Between 2007-08 and 2011-12, the number of emergency services provided by public hospitals increased from 7.1 million to 7.8 million (an increase of 2.4% on average each year) and the number of public hospital emergency department presentations increased by an average of 4.3% per year.
Between 2007-08 and 2011-12, there was an 8% increase in the number of Emergency patients (clinical care is required within 10 minutes) and a 6% increase in the number of Urgent patients (clinical care is required within 30 minutes).
Over the same period, the proportion of emergency department presentations that were treated within an appropriate time increased from 69% to 72% and the median waiting time decreased from 24 minutes to 21 minutes.
In 2012, about 66% of emergency department visits were completed in 4 hours or less.
Admitted patient care
In 2011-12, there were almost 9.3 million separations from hospitals for admitted patients-5.5 million in public hospitals and 3.7 million in private hospitals.
The number of separations increased by 3.8% on average each year between 2007-08 and 2011-12 for public hospitals, and by 4.6% for private hospitals. Western Australia had the greatest average annual increase in public hospital separations (6.4%) and Tasmania had the least (0.9%).
Between 2007-08 and 2011-12, emergency admissions increased at a higher rate than overall for public hospitals and at a lower rate for private hospitals (4.1% and 3.2% per year, respectively).
In 2011-12, persons aged 85 and over accounted for about 7% of all separations, with numbers of separations increasing by an average of 9% each year between 2007-08 and 2011-12.
In 2011-12, there were 2.4 million admissions that involved a surgical procedure. Of these, about 295,000 were emergency admissions.
Indigenous Australians had about twice the rate of emergency admissions involving surgery compared with other Australians (25 per 1,000 persons and 13 per 1,000, respectively). In contrast, for elective admissions involving surgery, Indigenous Australians had a rate that was less than two-thirds the rate for other Australians (54 per 1,000 persons and 87 per 1,000, respectively).