In 2005-06 the Northern Territory had five public hospitals with 569 hospital beds. The number of beds has remained constant since 2000-2001, prior to which there were 571 hospital beds. The distribution of hospital beds has also remained constant, with the two major population centres of Darwin and Central NT having 52.2% and 28.5% of the hospital beds respectively.
Total separations were almost equally distributed between the Indigenous and non-Indigenous population in the Northern Territory despite the approximately 30:70 split in the two groups. Furthermore, Indigenous persons were more likely to have an overnight separation (55.6%) than non-Indigenous persons (44.4%). This was not the case for day only separations, with 34.3% Indigenous compared to 65.6% non-Indigenous persons.
Day surgeries conducted in the NT in 2005-06 totalled 6118 procedures, compared to 5699 in 2004-05 and 5557 in 2003-04.
Indigenous people were likely to have more than two diseases (2.6 average) associated with their admission, while non-Indigenous people were likely to have more than one disease (1.2 average) associated with their admission.
Of the 61 429 causes related to Indigenous hospital separations in 2005-06 in the Northern Territory, 52.1% were for care involving dialysis, an increase when compared to 50.9% in 2004-05. Other causes that contributed to Indigenous hospital separations included: pregnancy, childbirth and the puerperium (5.0%); diseases and disorders of the respiratory system (4.9%); and, diseases and disorders of the digestive system (3.5%).
Of the 91 962 causes related to total hospital separations in 2005-06 in the Northern Territory, 38.2% were for care involving dialysis compared to 37.7% in 2004-05. Other causes that contributed to total hospital separations include: pregnancy, childbirth and the puerperium (7.5%); diseases and disorders of the digestive system (5.7%); and diseases and disorders of the respiratory system (4.8%).
% causes of hospital separations due to care involving dialysis,
The majority of the notifiable diseases recorded in the NT were sexually transmitted (60.6%). Of the 5551 sexually transmitted disease cases 2057 were chlamydia, 1773 gonococcal infection and 1424 trichomonoasis. Central NT accounted for 42.7% of sexually transmitted diseases, followed by Darwin-Palmerston 19.4%, Lower Top End 11.4% and East Arnhem 11.1%.
Further information on health in the Northern Territory can be obtained from the following sources:
Department of Health and Community Services
National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Survey, Northern Territory, 2004-05 (cat. no.4715.7.55.005)