Covid-19 Snaps Australian Hospital Admissions Rise

CANBERRA, Australia — The Covid-19 pandemic has snapped a steady trend of growth in Australian hospital admissions over the past five years.

The latest MyHospitals update, released by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare on June 3, shows there were 11.1 million hospitalizations across the nation in 2019/20.

That was down roughly 400,000 from the previous 12 months and stands in stark contrast to a 3.3 percent average yearly rise in hospitalizations since 2014/15.

“The COVID-19 pandemic had a profound impact on activity in Australian hospitals,” spokesman Adrian Webster said.

“Restrictions on some hospital services, associated measures in other health care settings to support social distancing, alongside changes in community behaviors resulted in an overall decrease in hospital activity.”

There were 400,000 fewer private and public hospital admissions in Australia last financial year.
There were 400,000 fewer private and public hospital admissions in Australia last financial year. (AAP Image)

Same-day hospitalizations (6.9 million) and overnight hospitalizations (4.3 million) both fell by 2.1 percent and four percent respectively.

Further, patient admissions (4.5 percent) fell more than twice as sharply for private hospitals than public operators (1.7 percent).

“The larger decrease in private hospitals was heavily influenced by the restrictions placed on certain categories of elective surgeries from March 2020,” Webster said.

Over the first six months of 2020 — which takes in Australia’s first wave of coronavirus —, there were more than 2600 hospitalizations for patients diagnosed with Covid-19.

Of those, 225 patients, or 8.6 percent stayed in an intensive care unit and 105 (four percent) died in hospital.

Restrictions on some hospital services, associated measures in other health care settings to support social distancing, alongside changes in community behaviours resulted in an overall decrease in hospital activity. (Artur Tumasjan/Unsplash)

In a demonstration of the most vulnerable demographics, those over 65 accounted for a third of the hospitalizations and 90 percent of Covid-infected patient hospital deaths.

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare is Australia’s national agency for information and statistics on Australia’s health and welfare. Statistics and data developed by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare are used extensively to inform discussion and policy decisions on health, community services, and housing assistance.

Under Australia’s constitution, health and welfare services are primarily delivered by the states and territories, which are also mainly responsible for the collection of statistics on these services. A fundamental aim of the Institute is to promote consistency among national, state, and territory statistics, in order to produce comprehensive national data of the highest standard.

The AIHW is an Australian Government statutory agency established under the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare Act 1987. The Act contains very strong confidentiality protections for all data held and requires the AIHW to publish two key biennial reports in alternate years: Australia’s health and Australia’s welfare. Numerous other reports are produced each year, all of which are available free of charge on the AIHW website.

(Edited by Vaibhav Vishwanath Pawar and Ritaban Misra)



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