NHS makes bad use of hospital beds

November 27, 2003

The NHS uses up to three and a half times the number of hospital bed days for conditions such as stroke and hip fracture as health organisations in the United States, according to researchers in this week's BMJ.

They compared the NHS with two health organisations (Kaiser Permanente in California and the Medicare Programme in California and the United States) using data on admission rates, lengths of stay, and bed days for 11 leading causes of use of acute beds in people aged over 65.

They found that the NHS uses three and a half times the number of acute bed days as Kaiser Permanente, twice the number as Medicare in California, and 50% more than Medicare in the United States for these causes.

These findings confirm that there is scope for acute hospital beds to be used differently in the NHS, say the authors. They suggest that the NHS can learn from Kaiser's integrated approach and their experience of engaging doctors in developing and supporting this model of care.
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BMJ

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