Hospitals fill up, and more, despite relatively mild winter

Occupancy rates in the internal medicine departments at Ashkelon’s Barzilai Medical Center have reached 200 percent.

January 3, 2011 06:16
1 minute read.
Hospital beds can be lonely

Hospital bed 521. (photo credit: Illustrative photo)


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Crowding in hospitals around the country has intensified, the Health Ministry said on Sunday.

Occupancy rates in the internal medicine departments at Ashkelon’s Barzilai Medical Center, which treat mostly the elderly and those with chronic diseases, have reached 200 percent – meaning many beds are in the hallways.

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The director-general asked that additional patients not be admitted until further notice.

This is happening even though the winter has been quite mild, with little cold and rain and thus lower rates of flu complications.

At Kaplan Medical Center in Rehovot, the internal medicine units are full and emergency department is operating at 160% occupancy. It asked the ministry for permission to refuse new admissions, but this request was not approved.

Pediatric wards at Wolfson Medical Center in Holon are at 200% capacity, and the pediatric emergency department is also full. The ministry also refused management’s request to turn away new patients.

At Petah Tikva’s Schneider Children’s Medical Center and Haifa’s Carmel Medical Center, all beds are full, and at Emek Medical Center in Afula, the departments are almost all at 200% capacity.

The Health Ministry said it was aware of the rise in hospital occupancies and is working with Magen David Adom to identify hospitals where one could still bring ambulance patients. It has allowed hospitals to increase shifts with additional doctors and nurses.

Over the last half-year it has warned the Treasury about hospital crowding; the Finance Ministry has agreed to an expansion of only 960 beds over the next six years, which the Health Ministry said it hoped would help reduce pressures.

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