Hospitalisations increase year on year, data shows

The number of hospitalisations for any reason increased in 2022-23, according to data released by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).

Aussies spent 33 million days in hospital last financial year, figures from the MyHospitals: Admitted patient care 2022-23 report show. The report contained data on both day procedures and overnight hospitalisations.

Clara Jellie, spokesperson for the AIHW, says there were just over 12 million individual hospitalisations for the year, with people aged 60 and over accounting for 59 per cent of them.

“There was a 4.6 per cent increase in hospitalisations across all Australian hospitals during 2022–23, with hospitalisations in public and private hospitals increasing by 4.3 per cent and 5.0 per cent respectively compared to 2021–22,” she says.

“Same-day hospitalisations across all Australian hospitals increased by 5.6 per cent in 2022–23 compared to 2021–22. There was also a 2.8 per cent increase in the number of overnight admissions across all hospitals. Every state and territory had increases in the number of hospitalisations in public hospitals during 2022–23.”

Rate of hospitalisation slows

Interestingly, although the total number of hospitalisations increased, the rate per 1000 people during the year was slightly lower (415.2) than back in 2018–19 (421.7) but higher than it was in 2019–20 (401.2).

“This reflects the volatility of hospital activity, including decreases in hospital activity and disruptions to staffing availability, across many states and territories in recent years due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” Ms Jellie says.

There were a little under three million hospitalisations that required surgery. Just over 300,000 of these were emergencies, with about 2.5 million elective (planned) surgeries.

Ms Jellie says surgery was heavily affected by the pandemic. The overall number of surgical hospitalisations increased by 7.7 per cent in 2022–23, following a 5.8 per cent decrease a year earlier. 

There were 670 public hospitals providing admitted patient care services, and the average length of stay was 2.7 days.

Of these hospital stays, 91 per cent were classified as episodes of acute care, or active, short-term care for an urgent medical condition. This contrasts with chronic care, which deals with long-term illnesses and care options.

Almost one in four (23 per cent or 1.7 million) same-day acute hospitalisations in all hospitals were for care involving kidney dialysis.

Outpatient numbers also increase

Increases were also recorded in services provided to non-admitted patients (outpatients) in Australian public hospitals.

There were 41.1 million non-admitted patient care services recorded in public hospitals last year compared with 39.0 million in 2018–19. Again, older Australians were overrepresented in these numbers, with more than half (53 per cent) of outpatient procedures provided to people aged 50 and over.

Just over half (54 per cent) of outpatient services were provided to women and around one in 20 (6.5 per cent) were provided to Indigenous Australians. 

Almost one quarter (23 per cent) of the services were administered to people living in the lowest socioeconomic areas. Fifty-eight per cent of services were provided in a major city, while a further 19 per cent were carried out in ‘inner regional areas’.

Inner regional areas are defined as thosewhere “geographic distance imposes some restriction upon accessibility to the widest range of goods, services and opportunities for social interaction”.

Have you been admitted to hospital in the past year? How was your experience? Let us know in the comments section below.

Also read: Clearing the elective surgery backlog will take more than one budget

Brad Lockyer
Brad Lockyer
Brad has deep knowledge of retirement income, including Age Pension and other government entitlements, as well as health, money and lifestyle issues facing older Australians. Keen interests in current affairs, politics, sport and entertainment. Digital media professional with more than 10 years experience in the industry.


  1. I believe due to medical advancements, there are more opportunities to fix things for older people to hopefully enjoy a much better older life. This does not mean we are getting sicker, but hopefully to get healthier. It still isn’t right that alot of regional people have to travel to the city to have procedures done, as all governments should be investing more in the regional areas to entice younger people there and making sure all Australians have access readily available in the immediate area. The cities do not make up all of Australia.

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