4390.0 - Private Hospitals, Australia, 1995-96  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 05/11/1997   
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November 5, 1997
Embargoed: 11:30 AM (AEST)
Strong growth for day hospitals in the private sector

Survey results released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) reflect a substantial contribution by the private hospital sector to institutionalised health care in Australia.

In 1995-96, the ABS found that for every four days of hospitalisation, one day was provided by private hospitals and the other three by public hospitals.

Revenue generated by private hospitals amounted to $3,183 million in 1995-96, or 0.7 per cent of Australia's gross national product.

The publication Private Hospitals, Australia, released today, states that the number of free-standing day hospitals run by private operators has almost doubled, from 72 in 1991-92 to 140 in 1995-96. These day hospitals comprise mainly general surgery, specialist endoscopy and ophthalmic clinics.

By contrast, the growth in the number of private acute and psychiatric hospitals over the last five years has been much smaller. These hospitals have increased from 319 in 1991-92 to 323 in 1995-96. However, in the same period the number of day hospital facilities (day surgery theatres and endoscopy rooms) operating within these hospitals has increased from 125 to 156.

In 1995-96 there were 1,661,100 separations of admitted patients recorded at all private hospitals in Australia; 1,452,300 for private acute and psychiatric hospitals and 208,800 for day hospitals. The contribution by free-standing day hospitals has risen from 9.6 per cent in 1991-92 to 12.6 percent in 1995-96.

Total recurrent expenditure for all free-standing day hospitals was $80 million in 1995-96 and the average operating expenditure per patient separation was $384. This average cost was highest for ophthalmic clinics ($690) and lowest for specialist endoscopy centres ($228).

Total recurrent expenditure for all private acute and psychiatric hospitals was $2,824 million in 1995-96 and the average recurrent expenditure per patient day was $483. This unit cost ranged from an average of $322 for smaller hospitals (with 25 or fewer beds) to $610 for the larger hospitals (with over 200 beds). However, larger hospitals tend to provide the more complex procedures involving expensive medical equipment and highly specialised staff.

Copies of the publication Private Hospitals, Australia (cat. no. 4390.0) are available from ABS Bookshops in all capital cities.