What is it about?

In order to obtain a like-for-like comparison of international critical care unit (CCU) bed numbers requires adjustment for the age profile and the nearness-to-death effect. This pragmatic method makes these adjustments using readily available data. A feasible region for the optimum number of CCU beds can be defined. CCU bed occupancy in the USA and England is compared with England having very high levels of occupancy which is indicative of too few beds. Lines of equivalent bed numbers can be drawn allowing countries to compare their CCU bed provision.

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Why is it important?

Comparison of international bed numbers must be on a true like-for-like basis. Before the COVID-19 pandemic England already had too few CCU beds and only narrowly averted a catastrophe when British industry stepped in to rapidly manufacture a range of assisted breathing devices. The government also applied a media ban on hospitals communicating with the National Press. This effectively hid the magnitude of the near disaster from the public and international scrutiny.


This pragmatic method allow for true international comparison. Governments can all too easily hide poor bed provision behind slick PR and this method allows the extent of the problem to be revealed to both the public and doctors.

Dr Rodney P Jones
Healthcare Analysis & Forecasting

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: A pragmatic method to compare international critical care beds: Implications to pandemic preparedness and non‐pandemic planning, The International Journal of Health Planning and Management, March 2022, Wiley, DOI: 10.1002/hpm.3458.
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