Department of Family and Community Services
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1.2 Potentially preventable hospitalisations

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Rate of potentially preventable hospitalisation (PPH) per 100,000 people

Current position

In 2010-11, women had lower rates of potentially preventable hospitalisation than men by 81 per 100,000 people. Women’s rate was 2,339 per 100,000 compared to men’s rate of 2,420 per 100,000 people.

Gender gap

  • Women’s rate of PPH was lower than men’s in 2010-11.
The direction of
change over time

Women’s rate of PPH has increased slightly over the last two decades since 1991-92, while
men’s has decreased significantly.

Women’s rate of PPH increased most in the acute category, while chronic and vaccine-related PPH rates reduced. Men’s rate of vaccine-preventable hospitalisations decreased significantly. 


The rate of potentially preventable hospitalisation is considered an indicator of access to, and the quality of, primary care.

In 2010-11, 46 percent of all hospitalisations in NSW occurred among people aged 60 years and over. Renal dialysis was the most common reason for hospitalisation.

Rates for potentially preventable hospitalisations increase with increasing geographic remoteness. This is true for women and men.

The overall NSW rate reflects the influence of major cities. But among women, the rates in major cities are less than half of those in very remote areas, as shown in Table 2.2 below.

Aboriginal women experience a rate over 2.5 times that of non-Aboriginal women, as reported in Women in NSW 2012. In 2010-11, their rate was 6,014 per 100,000 women (nearly 3,700 women in total) compared to the non-Aboriginal female rate of some 2,291 (nearly 90,000 women).

Potentially preventable hospitalisations (PPH) conditions are those for which hospitalisation is considered potentially avoidable through preventive care and early disease management, through access to primary health care (for example by general practitioners or community health centres).

There are three categories of PPH: vaccine-preventable (conditions such as measles preventable through immunisation); acute conditions (acute infections and other conditions which may not be preventable, but don’t need to result in hospital care); and chronic conditions (such as diabetes which could be managed through lifestyle change and medical care in the community).

After July 2010, there was a significant change in coding standards for diabetes, which caused a decrease in number of hospitalisations where diabetes with complications was coded in principal diagnosis. This change resulted in rates of hospitalisation for all PPH decreased by about 7 percent between 2009-10 and 2010-11.

Year collected: 2010-11 and previous years.
Data source: NSW Admitted Patient Data Collection and ABS population estimates (SAPHaRI). Centre for Epidemiology and Evidence,
NSW Ministry of Health.
More information is available at

Table 2.2 Potentially preventable hospitalisations among women by remoteness, 2010-11

Remoteness from services

Number per 100,000 women

Major cities


Inner regional


Outer regional




Very remote


NSW Total


Note: Potentially preventable hospitalisations are those where hospital stay could have been avoided. Remoteness is based on the ABS Accessibility/Remoteness Index of Australia (ARIA).

Population: Women of all ages. Rates were age-adjusted using the Australian population as at 30 June 2001.
Source: NSW Admitted Patient Data Collection and ABS population estimates (SAPHaRI).