Health scan: More beds for general illness, fewer for elderly and disabled

According to a new statistical report, the Health Ministry says that by the end of January there were 15,457 budgeted general-hospital beds, with 167 added in 2014 alone.

July 19, 2015 02:20
4 minute read.

Man lying in a hospital bed at Hadassah University Medical Center in Jerusalem’s Ein Kerem [illustrative].. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)

After five years in which the number of hospital beds remained steady or even declined until 2010, despite significant growth of the population, the total has increased by 866 in the past five years. According to a new statistical report, the Health Ministry said that by the end of January there were 15,457 budgeted general-hospital beds (not including those set up in corridors), with 167 added in 2014 alone.

Of the 866, 72 were added to crowded internal medicine departments, 57 to pediatrics, 21 to intensive care, 10 to obstetrics and seven to surgical departments. Hospital bed occupancy compared to population has remained steady, with 1.866 per 1,000 Israeli residents, compared to an 11 percent decline from the end of 2005 and a 16% drop from the end of 2000.

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As for psychiatric care, there were 3,505 beds, 52 more than at the end of 2009, but in general the health system is trying to get more psychiatric patients to be treated in the community instead of as inpatients.

By the end of January of this year, there were 24,906 budgeted beds in long-term nursing (mostly geriatric) hospitals, with occupancy versus population declining even though the population is aging.

There were also 752 beds for rehabilitation in January, a decline of 9% since 2009.

A total of 1,393 places for kidney dialysis are available at public and private institutions, an addition of 229 spots since 2010, the ministry said, and 433 surgical theaters, a decline of one since 2010. There were 272 delivery rooms around the country – 37 more than five years ago – and 1,583 places for newborns, 201 more than the end of 2009.


A good night’s sleep makes it easier to maintain a healthy lifestyle, such as giving up smoking and eating right, according to new research from the University of Copenhagen. Previous population-based studies have not provided sufficient information on the timing of changes in both sleep and lifestyle to figure out cause-and-effect relations of this highly intertwined relationship.

“This study shows that sleep affects our ability to maintain a healthy lifestyle, and when sleep deteriorates we are more likely to make unhealthy lifestyle changes,” wrote post-doctoral public health student Alice Jessie Clark at the Danish university. The research, based on the records of over 35,000 adults with follow-up over four years, was published in the International Journal of Epidemiology.

They found that smokers who maintained a sleeping pattern characterized by normal sleep duration and undisturbed nights were less likely to still be smoking and more likely to have quit smoking four years on, when compared to those who either shortened their average sleep duration or experienced an increase in sleep disturbances.

Overall, similar patterns were also observed with regard to other adverse lifestyle changes, with onset of impaired sleep inflicting a higher risk of uptake of high-risk consumption of alcohol (among non-risk consumers), of becoming physically inactive (among the initially physically active) and of becoming overweight or obese.

By way of example, to determine the effect of onset of disturbed sleep on risk of becoming physically inactive, the researchers followed the group of physically active undisturbed sleepers for four years (from the first to the second wave) to assess exposure status, i.e. onset of disturbed sleep (among those still physically active at the second wave). They then followed the still active participants, some of whom now suffered disturbed sleeping patterns, an additional four years (until the third wave) to assess whether the risk of becoming physically inactive differed between persistent normal sleepers and those who had experienced an increase in sleep disturbances.

“Better knowledge of the importance of sleep, not just for biological restitution, but also for making healthy lifestyle decisions, may help people make informed decisions about prioritizing how to spend the night – caching up on work emails, surfing social media or going to bed and ensuring a good night’s sleep,” concluded Clark.


College women who wore to class shoes with 10 cm. heels more than three times per week developed an imbalance of four functional ankle muscles. While wearing high-heeled shoes appeared to strengthen ankle muscles at first, prolonged use eventually caused an imbalance, a crucial predictor of ankle injury.

It’s better to wear shoes with reasonable heels for foot health, but if women insist on spikes, it is clinically important to regularly perform ankle strengthening exercises, such as heel walking, toe taps and heel raises – and to limit the frequency of wearing high-heeled shoes, according to Dr. Yong- Seok Jee, co-author of the article on his findings, that appeared in the International Journal of Clinical Practice.

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