Admissions involving surgery rise

MORE than a quarter of Australia's 8.9 million hospitalisations in 2010-11 included a visit to an operating room for surgery, figures released by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) have revealed.

The snapshot bulletin, Surgery in Australian Hospitals 2010-11, provides an overview of Australia's 2.4 million annual hospitalisations for surgery.

Around one million surgery hospitalisations occurred in public hospitals and 1.4 million in private hospitals.

In the five years to 2011, admissions involving surgery rose 2.4% a year in public hospitals and 4.1% a year in private hospitals. But in the last year, annual growth in surgery admissions in public hospitals has outstripped annual growth in private hospitals 2.7% to 2.1%.

AIHW said this more than likely reflected a renewed emphasis to reduce public hospital elective surgery backlogs.

Around 12% of surgery admissions were emergency admissions (requiring surgery within 24 hours) and about 83% were elective admissions, with two-thirds of these occurring in private hospitals. A further 4% of surgery-related admissions were childbirth-related and 1% were for "other planned care".

The most common reasons for emergency surgery admission were appendicitis, hip fractures and heart attacks, followed closely by leg fractures.

For elective surgery admissions, the most common reasons were cataracts, skin cancers, knee disorders and procreative management (including IVF).


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