4390.0 - Private Hospitals, Australia, 2004-05  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 14/07/2006   
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Accredited/certified hospitals

Hospitals that are accredited/certified by the Australian Council on Healthcare Standards (ACHS 2003), Benchmark Certification, Business Excellence Australia (SAI-Global Ltd) or any other body approved for private sector quality criteria certification or ISO 9000 quality family standards. Participation in these schemes is voluntary and accreditation is awarded when hospitals demonstrate a continuing adherence to quality assurance standards. Hospital accreditation/certification is regarded as one of the few indicators of hospital quality that is available nationally.

Acute hospitals

These provide at least minimal medical, surgical or obstetrical services for admitted patient treatment and/or care and provide round-the-clock comprehensive qualified nursing services as well as other necessary professional services. They must be licensed by the state or territory health authority. Most of the patients have acute conditions or temporary ailments.

Administrative expenses

Includes management and administrative support expenditure such as rates and taxes, printing, telephone, stationery, insurances and motor vehicle running expenses.

Allied health services

These are provided by units and clinics for the treatment and counselling of patients. They mainly comprise physiotherapy, speech therapy, family planning, dietary advice, optometry and occupational therapy.

Average length of stay in hospital

This is calculated by dividing the aggregate number of patient days by the number of separations associated with those patient days.


These are provided for the care and treatment of admitted (same-day and overnight-stay) patients.

  • Available beds are those immediately available (occupied and unoccupied) for the care of admitted patients as required. In the case of free-standing day hospital facilities, they include chairs, trolleys, recliners and cots and are used mainly for post-surgery recovery purposes only.
  • Occupied beds are calculated by dividing total patient days by the number of days in the year (366 in 2003-04).

Capital expenditure

Comprises expenditure on land and buildings, computer facilities, major medical equipment, plant and other equipment, and expenditure in relation to intangible assets, having regard to guidelines followed as to the differentiation between capital and recurrent costs.

Factors influencing health status and contact with health service

These factors relate to occasions when circumstances other than a disease, injury or external cause are recorded as "diagnoses" or "problems". This can arise in two main ways:

  • When a person who may or may not be sick encounters the health services for some specific purpose, such as to receive limited care or service for a current condition, to donate an organ or tissue, to receive prophylactic vaccination or to discuss a problem which is in itself not a disease or injury.
  • When some circumstance or problem is present which influences the person's health status but is not in itself a current illness or injury. Such factors may be elicited during population surveys, when the person may or may not be currently sick, or be recorded as an additional factor to be borne in mind when the person is receiving care for some illness or injury.

Free-standing day hospital facilities

These provide investigation and treatment for acute conditions on a day-only basis and are approved by the Commonwealth for the purposes of basic table health insurance benefits.

Hospital type

'Not-for-profit' hospitals are those which qualify as a nonprofit organisation with either the Australian Taxation Office or the Australian Securities and Investment Commission. These are further categorised as 'religious or charitable' and 'other'. All other hospitals are classed as 'for profit'.


International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems. The purpose of the ICD is to permit the systematic recording, analysis, interpretation and comparison of mortality and morbidity data collected in different countries or areas and at different times. The ICD, which is endorsed by the World Health Organisation (WHO), is primarily designed for the classification of diseases and injuries with a formal diagnosis. Further information is available from the WHO web site <<www.who.int>>.


Three categories of income are identified:

  • Patient revenue includes revenue received by, and due to, the hospital in respect of patient liability for accommodation and other fees, regardless of source of payment (Commonwealth, health fund, insurance company, direct from patient) or status of patient (whether admitted or non-admitted patient).
  • Recoveries includes income received from items such as staff meals and accommodation, and facility fees paid by medical practitioners.
  • Other income includes revenue such as investment income from temporarily surplus funds and income from charities, bequests, meals and accommodation provided to visitors, and kiosk sales. Revenue payments received from state or territory governments are excluded.

Insurance status

Indicates whether or not hospital insurance is held with a registered health insurance fund, or a general insurance company. Patients who have insurance cover only for ancillary services are regarded as not having hospital insurance.

Occasions of service

Any services provided to a non-admitted patient in a functional unit (e.g.radiology) of the hospital. Each diagnostic test or simultaneous set of related diagnostic tests is counted as one occasion of service.

Occupancy rate

Is calculated by dividing patient days by the product of average number of beds and the number of days in the year (366 in 2003-04) and expressed as a percentage.Equation: glossary_occ_rate

Other domestic services

Includes staff services, accommodation, bedding and linen, hardware, crockery, cutlery, laundering and cleaning of uniforms.

Other specialised units/wards

Includes neurosurgical unit, acute spinal cord injury unit, burns unit, major plastic/reconstructive surgery unit, transplantation units, acute renal dialysis unit, infectious diseases unit, comprehensive epilepsy centre, clinical genetics unit, AIDS unit, diabetes unit, in-vitro fertilisation unit, alcohol and drug unit and other specialised services.


A patient is a person for whom a hospital accepts responsibility for treatment and/or care.

  • An admitted patient undergoes a hospital's formal admission process. Babies born in hospital are excluded unless they are provided with medical care other than that which would normally be provided to a newborn, or they remain in hospital after the mother has been discharged, or are the second or subsequent live born infant of a multiple birth and the mother is currently an admitted patient. Persons accompanying a sick patient (e.g. nursing mothers and parents accompanying sick children) are also excluded.
  • Overnight-stay patients are admitted to and separated from hospital on different dates (i.e. they stay at least one night in hospital).
  • Same-day patients are admitted and separated on the same day (i.e. they are in hospital for a period that does not include an overnight stay).
  • Non-admitted patients do not undergo a hospital's formal admission process. These include outpatients, accident and emergency patients and off-site (community/outreach) patients.

Patient days

These are the aggregate number of days of stay (i.e. separation date minus admission date) for all overnight-stay patients who were separated from hospital during the year. Periods of approved leave are subtracted from these calculations. Same-day patients are each counted as having a stay of one day.


A clinical intervention that:

  • is surgical in nature; and/or
  • carries a procedural risk; and/or
  • carries an anaesthetic risk; and/or
  • requires specialised training; and/or
  • requires special facilities or equipment only available in an acute care setting.

For admitted patients, procedures undertaken during an episode of care are recorded in accordance with ICD-10-AM (2nd edition).

Psychiatric hospitals

Psychiatric hospitals are licensed/approved by each state or territory health authority and cater primarily for admitted patients with psychiatric, mental or behavioural disorders.

Recurrent Expenditure

Comprises expenditure on wages and salaries, drug, medical and surgical supplies, food supplies, domestic services, administrative expenses, repairs and maintenance, and other recurrent expenditure. For further information refer to the National Health Data Dictionary V12 which is available on the AIHW web site <<www.aihw.gov.au>>.

Repairs and maintenance

Includes costs of maintaining, repairing, replacing and providing additional equipment, maintaining and renovating buildings, and minor additional works.


Occurs when an admitted patient:

  • is discharged
  • is transferred to another institution
  • leaves against medical advice
  • dies whilst in care
  • changes their type of care from/to acute, rehabilitation, palliative or non-acute care (known as statistical discharge), or
  • leaves hospital for a period of seven or more days.

Specialised service

A facility or unit dedicated to the treatment or care of patients with particular conditions or characteristics.


Includes staff employed by the hospital and contract staff employed through an agency in cases where the contract is for the supply of labour.

  • Nursing staff comprises registered nurses, enrolled nurses, student nurses, trainee/pupil nurses and other personal care staff (e.g. orderlies, warders and nursing assistants).
  • Administrative and clerical staff includes computing staff, finance staff and civil engineers.
  • Domestic and other staff includes staff engaged in cleaning, laundry services, the provision of food, trades people and maintenance staff.
  • Diagnostic and health professionals includes qualified diagnostic health professionals, allied health professionals and laboratory technicians.
  • Full-time equivalent staff represents the sum of full-time staff and the full-time equivalent of part-time staff. It is derived by adding the on-job hours worked and hours of paid leave (sick, recreation, long service, workers' compensation leave) by/for a staff member (or contract employee where applicable) divided by the number of hours normally worked by a full-time staff member when on the job (or contract employee where applicable) under the relevant award or agreement.

Statistical discharge - type change

The process by which a hospital records a patient discharge when changing type of care. This occurs when the type of care changes from/to acute, rehabilitation, palliative or non-acute care.

Statistical divisions

These are groupings of the whole or part of legal local government areas. They are designed to be relatively homogeneous regions characterised by identifiable social and economic units within the region. Capital City Statistical Divisions, shown in some tables of this publication, comprise Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth, Greater Hobart, Darwin and Canberra.

Type of centre

Free-standing day hospital centres are categorised by type according to their main economic activity. The following types of centres are separately categorised: General surgery, specialist endoscopy, ophthalmic, plastic/cosmetic and other.

Wages and salaries (including on-costs)

Includes wages and salaries, superannuation employer contributions, payroll tax, workers' compensation and workcare premiums, uniforms, education, personnel costs and fringe benefits tax.