The debate has been raging since the start of the school year. How many beds are closed in hospitals for lack of sufficient staff? In October, the scientific council, throwing a stone in the pond, put forward the figure of 20%. An estimate immediately contested by the Minister of Health, who had promised to make his own assessment. It was made public Thursday, December 16.
The controversy began in October when, against the backdrop of the lull of the Covid-19 crisis, the difficulties of health establishments unable to resume normal activity began to rise in many territories. Reduction in the number of beds, operating theaters in slow motion, emergency services forced to close at night…: alerts accumulated, before giving rise to an intense battle of numbers.
“Fatigue of caregivers”
The ministerial investigation, finally, neither confirms nor denies this figure of 20%, which is mainly based on feedback from the Public Assistance-Hospitals of Paris (AP-HP). She answers the question differently, by shifting the focal length. Instantly, she prefers the comparison from one year to the next, considered more valid “Methodologically” – and which allows the crisis to be put into perspective.
Thus, according to the study carried out by the General Directorate of Healthcare Provision (DGOS), health establishments only had 2% fewer full hospital beds than in 2019. This collected the data. 1,100 establishments, public and private, in the various healthcare sectors (medicine, surgery, follow-up and rehabilitation care, psychiatry, home hospitalization, etc.), covering the period of October and November.
Result: if there is no question of denying the “Tensions on human resources”, the “Caregiver fatigue”, the “Care charge” more important in hospitals, the situation does not appear as dramatic as some figures have suggested. The ratio of “20%” of bed closures could be “True locally, at times”, but they are not “A general truth”, according to the ministry, for whom the survey provides a “More moderate overall finding” on the situation.
Outpatient activity on the rise
This continued decline in the number of beds in establishments, which has a stronger impact on certain sectors such as surgery (- 7%), is largely offset by an increase in outpatient activity, i.e. treatment of patients for less than one day. the ” number of places “ in establishments thus increased overall by 19% compared to 2019, according to the ministerial survey. Some disciplines, on the other hand, see the picture deteriorate on all levels, such as psychiatry, not to mention the situations “Heterogeneous” according to the territories.
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The “more moderate observation” of the Ministry of Health on the hospital crisis