In 2008 there were 19,995 hospital separations for patients residing in the Kimberley. Over three-quarters of separations (76.8%) were for Indigenous patients.
This is higher than the proportion of Indigenous people in the population, with Indigenous people comprising 42.1% of the Kimberley population, with 12,324 Indigenous people living in the region.
The most frequent principal diagnosis for hospital separations in the Kimberley in 2008 was Supplementary classifications, with 8,676 cases, of which 8,088 (93.2%) were of Indigenous patients. Many of the Supplementary classification separations were likely for renal dialysis patients.
In October 2002, the Kimberley Satellite Dialysis Centre was opened to enable Kimberley residents, particularly Aboriginal residents, to be able to undertake renal dialysis close to home. Previous to the Centre opening dialysis patients were required to reside in Perth while undertaking renal dialysis.
A large increase can be seen in the number of Supplementary classification separations in the first two to three years of the Centre opening, and the vast majority of this increase occurred in the Shire of Broome, where the Centre was based. Indigenous Supplementary classification separations in Broome (S) increased from 405 cases in 2001 prior to the centre opening, to 6,970 cases in 2008.
Other than Supplementary classifications, the frequency of categories of diagnoses did not change substantially from 2000 to 2008.