Haifa's Bnai Zion Hospital is likely to be closed down and replaced by a new, bigger hospital to be built on the outskirts of the city, reports the Hebrew weekly Yediot Haifa. Mayor Yona Yahav said he is aware of the chronic shortage of beds at the hospital and intends to deal with the crisis "immediately." According to the report, Bnai Zion's managers have been complaining for years that the hospital is too small and is always seriously short of beds for patients. They say they need three more in-patient wards, containing hundreds of beds, to cope with the demand. "Every year we face the same problems of crowding and pressure in the different wards," a hospital manager said. "Patients are forced to lie in the corridors, there are some who become infected (with other diseases) because of the overcrowding in the wards, and of course the care given is not as good because of the crisis in space." The manager added that this past winter had been "relatively easy," with no widespread influenza epidemic, and yet the hospital was still full. "Because of this difficult situation, which repeats itself every year, there is no escaping the need to build a new hospital in the Haifa area," the manager said. The report said that while Haifa's largest hospital, Rambam, is currently undergoing a $100 million expansion, this by itself will not be enough to meet the needs of the city's growing population. It said that building regulations restrict Bnai Zion to adding only two stories to its structure, and there is no space available to build around the hospital, with the result that any larger hospital would need to be built elsewhere. Yahav said he would meet with the city engineer in coming days to discuss possible locations for the new hospital. The Health Ministry, hospital managers and the municipality are also planning talks on the issue in the near future.