Hospital bed rates down for size of population

Only 249 of 1,000 hospital beds promised several years ago have been added, Health Ministry report says.

Hospital beds (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Hospital beds
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Although the crowding in medical centers continues and the Health Ministry promised several years ago that it would add over 1,000 funded hospital beds in the coming years, only 249 have been added, according to a report the ministry issued on Tuesday.
Of these – which made for a total of 14,972 in general hospitals by the end of 2012 – 67 were in internal medicine departments, 60 in adult and child intensive care units, 52 in neonatal intensive care units, and 40 in obstetrics. Most of the beds were added in the North and the Tel Aviv area, with fewer in the South, Center, Jerusalem and Haifa regions.
The rate of hospital beds compared to the size of the population continues to decline, the ministry conceded – only 1.88 per 1,000 residents.
The average hospital stay remained steady at four days, compared to 4.3 days in 2000, according to the report. The length of stay generally reflects crowding in the medical centers, as there is no room to keep patients who may need more time in a ward.
Psychiatric inpatient institutions had 3,467 funded beds at the end of last year, most of them owned by the government, and a tenth of them by Clalit Health Services. The trend of caring for psychiatric patients in the community rather than in institutions continues, the report said.
Last year, there were 24,463 funded beds in hospitals for the elderly and chronically ill, an increase of 44 beds. More than half were owned by private companies.
Rehabilitation hospital beds totaled 723 – a decline of 58 from the previous year. A third were in state institutions, and a third owned by Clalit.
Over 5,700 patients undergo kidney dialysis, a 65-percent increase over the figure from 2000. A third of these patients were 75 years and older, compared to only a fifth in 2000. Nearly a million dialysis sessions were carried out (three times a week) on kidney-failure patients.