This study compares the frequency and severity of influenza A/H1N1pdm09 (A/H1), influenza A/H3N2 (A/H3) and other respiratory virus infections in hospitalised patients. Data from 17 332 adult hospitalised patients admitted to Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital, Perth, Western Australia, with a respiratory illness between 2012 and 2015 were linked with data containing reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction results for respiratory viruses including A/H1, A/H3, influenza B, human metapneumovirus, respiratory syncytial virus and parainfluenza. Of these, 1753 (10.1%) had test results. Multivariable regression analyses were conducted to compare the viruses for clinical outcomes including ICU admission, ventilation, pneumonia, length of stay and death. Patients with A/H1 were more likely to experience severe outcomes such as ICU admission (OR 2.5, 95% CI 1.2–5.5, P = 0.016), pneumonia (OR 3.0, 95% CI 1.6–5.7, P < 0.001) and lower risk of discharge from hospital (indicating longer lengths of hospitalisation; HR 0.64 95% CI 0.47–0.88, P = 0.005), than patients with A/H3. Patients with a non-influenza respiratory virus were less likely to experience severe clinical outcomes than patients with A/H1, however, had similar likelihood when compared to patients with A/H3. Patients hospitalised with A/H1 had higher odds of severe outcomes than patients with A/H3 or other respiratory viruses. Knowledge of circulating influenza strains is important for healthcare preparedness.