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HOSPITALS AND EMERGENCY
In 2010-11, approximately 2.3 million people aged 15 years and over (13%) had been admitted to hospital and 2.4 million (14%) had been to a hospital emergency department (ED) in the previous 12 months (see Table 3).
Rates of admission to a hospital and visiting an ED differed by age and sex as shown in the graphs below:
Differences in hospital admissions between men and women in the younger age groups are likely to be due in part to pregnancy and childbirth.
Three-quarters of those who were admitted to hospital were admitted only once in the previous 12 months (75%), while 4% were admitted four or more times. Just over half the persons who were admitted to hospital were treated as a public patient on their most recent admission (51%) (see table 13).
Of the 2.4 million persons who went to an ED in the previous 12 months for their own health, 72% visited once and 6% visited four or more times in that time. One in five thought at the time of their most recent visit that the care they needed could have been provided by a GP (21%) (see table 15).
The main reason people went to an ED instead of a GP on their most recent visit was that they felt their condition was serious or life threatening (49%). Around 29% said it was because of the time of day or day of the week they needed care, 6% said they were sent there by a GP and 3% said it was because the waiting time for a GP was too long (see table 15).
Around 38% of persons living in outer regional or remote regions of Australia compared with 25% of persons in major cities said their main reason for going to an ED instead of a GP was the time of day or day of the week they needed care (see Table 16).
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