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Hospitals Treating More Patients Than Previously

Hospitals are treating more patients according to the 1997/98 Hospital Throughput Report which was released by the Ministry of Health today.

The report shows that there has been a considerable growth (23.8 percent) in the volume of publicly funded hospital services delivered over the past 10 years. It also shows that the length of patient stay has dropped from an average of 5 days in 1991/92 to 3.9 days in 1997/98.

Overall there were more than half a million discharges ( 562,410) from public hospitals in 1997/98 which represents a 5.5 percent increase on 1996/97 figures. Of this, two-thirds (387,504) were medical discharges which is a 5.1 percent increase on 1996/97, and the remaining one-third (174,906) were surgical discharges which equates to a 6.4 percent increase.

Ministry of Health Portfolio Manager, Harvey Steffens said the report looks at publicly funded hospital services by region, but he stressed that this information was only part of the wider picture detailing what was happening in each area.

"The services in each area reflect the characteristics of the population such as the age/gender mix, their health needs, and are much broader than hospital services."

"Much of what is provided is in the community where services come from a range of providers including General Practitioners, Maori providers and nurses."

Mr Steffens said a more complete picture of the health status of New Zealanders could be obtained from the Health of New Zealanders report which is planned for release in the new year.

The Hospital Throughput report presents information on what inpatient hospital treatment was provided through public funding during the 1997/98 year. It is provided as a reference document for the Ministry of Health, Hospital and Health Services (HHS's), the Health Funding Authority as well as other interested parties.

The 1998/99 report should be due for release by mid-2000.

ends

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