4711.0 - Occasional Paper: Hospital Statistics, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians, 1999-2000  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 11/12/2002   
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December 11, 2002
Embargoed: 11:30 AM (AEST)

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander hospitalisation is higher than non-Indigenous Australians

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (Indigenous) Australians were admitted to hospital at twice the rate of non-Indigenous Australians in 1999-2000, according to figures released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) and the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.

Care involving dialysis (used in the treatment of kidney failure) accounted for 29% of hospital admissions for Indigenous Australians in 1999-2000. Indigenous males had admission rates six times that of non-Indigenous males, and females 14 times that of non-Indigenous females.

Other key reasons for Indigenous admissions to hospital were injuries, respiratory diseases, and pregnancy and childbirth.

Indigenous patients admitted to hospital were less likely than other patients to have a procedure recorded during their stay. This was true for most principal diagnoses, and in particular for circulatory, respiratory, digestive and genitourinary system diseases.

The most common procedures performed on Indigenous patients were operations on the urinary system (33%, of which 95% were haemodialysis procedures). Other common procedures were: allied health interventions (e.g. social work, physiotherapy and speech pathology), accounting for 15% of procedures; obstetric procedures (12% of procedures for Indigenous females); and dermatological and plastic procedures, imaging services and operations on the digestive and musculoskeletal systems (each accounting for 5%).

While one-third of total hospital admissions in Australia were to private hospitals in 1999-2000, public hospitals serviced 97% of admissions for Indigenous patients.

Further details are in Occasional Paper: Hospital Statistics, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians, 1999-2000 (cat. no. 4711.0).