$55 billion spent on Australian hospitals in year

COMBINED recurrent expenditure for public and private hospitals across the nation has topped $55 billion over the last financial year.

A new report, to be released today, revealed more than $44 billion had been spent on public hospitals and more than $11 billion on private hospitals.

The Hospital Resources 2013/14: Australian Hospital Statistics report is designed to give a snapshot of the health of hospitals across the nation.

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare commissioned report revealed public hospitals expenditure rose 4.4% last financial year and public hospital staff wages increased 3.4% during the same period.

AIHW spokesperson Jenny Hargreaves said nationwide there were 747 public hospitals that accounted for 65% of hospital beds and 612 private hospitals that accounted for the remaining 35% of beds.

She said the report revealed the sector was a major employer across the nation.

"Nationally, public hospitals employed more than 287,000 full-time equivalent staff in 2013/14," she said.

"More than 130,000 nurses accounted for 45% of public hospital staff, while more than 37,000 salaried medical officers comprised about 13%.

"The average salary for nurses in public hospitals in 2013/14 was about $91,000 a year, and for salaried medical staff it was around $188,000."