Public Hospital Report Card 2024

Performance indicators and terminology used in this Report Card

The AMA uses the following indicators to measure the performance of Australian public hospitals:

Public hospital capacity:

  • The number of available public hospital beds relative to the size of the Australian population, including available public hospital beds per 1,000 people aged 65 years and over.

Emergency department waiting and treatment times:

  • Proportion of patients seen within the clinically recommended timeframes set by the Australian Triage Scale, maximum waiting time for medical assessment and treatment:
    • Category 1 - Immediate treatment
    • Category 2 - 10 minuts
    • Category 3 - 30 minutes
    • Category 4 - 60 minutes
    • Category 5 - 120 minutes
  • Length of stay for emergency department care - the proportion of presentations where the length of the emergency department stay (from entering the hospital to physically leaving the hospital) is 4 hours or less.

Planned surgery waiting and treatment times:

  • The median waiting time for planned surgery — number of days within which 50 per cent of patients were admitted for their planned surgical procedure
  • The percentage of Category 2 patients — clinically indicated to be treated/receive surgery within 90 days, treated within the clinically recommended timeframe.

Funding for public hospitals:

  • Public hospital expenditure per person (constant prices).

Due to the potential misunderstanding of the term “elective” in the broader public, this report card uses the term “planned surgery” instead of “elective surgery” to highlight the medical necessity of the surgery that is required to improve the patient’s health and wellbeing. This surgery is planned in accordance with the triage scale and the health system’s capacity, as opposed it being something that is patient’s choice and may not be seen as necessary.

Please see page 45 for a guide of data and references used throughout the report card.