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Hospital Performance: Length of stay in public hospitals in 2011–12

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Overview

Big differences in length of hospital stays

This report shows the average length of time spent in 125 of Australia’s largest public hospitals for 16 selected conditions and procedures including childbirth, gall bladder removal and hip replacement. Focusing on patients who spent at least one night in hospital, the report finds that the average length of stay can vary by as much three or four times.

At major metropolitan hospitals:

  • Patients admitted for hip replacement, which accounts for the highest number of bed days among the surgical procedures, can remain in hospital nearly four times longer on average than in other similar hospitals (3.8 days compared to 15 days)
  • Patients admitted for appendix and gallbladder removal, the two most common of the seven surgical procedures in terms of stays, can remain in hospital almost twice as long on average (appendix removal, 1.6 to 3 days) or nearly three times longer (gallbladder removal, 1.1 to 3.2 days) than in other similar hospitals
  • Patients admitted for cellulitis, a skin infection that accounts for the highest number of hospital stays out of the seven medical conditions analysed, can remain in hospital more than twice as long on average than in other similar hospitals (2.1 days compared to 5.5 days).