The number of hospital bed closures continued to increase in France in 2020 and was amplified by the Covid-19 health crisis, according to a report from the Ministry of Health published on Wednesday.
The report also points out that 27,000 beds have been closed over the past seven years, a drop of 6.5%. But in 2020, the decline was slightly larger than in previous years with 5,758 hospital beds closed.
The epidemic is one of the reasons: many double rooms have been transformed into single rooms to limit the Covid epidemic, as well as massive deprogramming to reassign nursing staff to intensive care units.
The number of intensive care beds increased by 14.5%, or around 6,200 at the end of 2020.
“Resuscitation beds are multiplying but are temporary. For now, these beds must remain open in the event of a new upsurge in the epidemic, ”Carine Milcent, CNRS researcher, told RFI on Wednesday.
The report also mentions that home hospitalizations jumped almost 11% in 2020 instead of 6% in 2019.
“You have to look at these figures through the prism of a movement that is taking place in all developed countries, called transitional care, where the hospital is no longer really the place where you stay for several days and come out completely. cured, ”says Milcent. .
“Hospitals have to innovate and machines get obsolete faster and are more and more expensive, so there is a cost. […] but today we are able to provide care online, outside of the hospital, ”she adds.
In June, a French health union accused the government of cutting more than 1,800 hospital beds in the first months of 2021, as France battles a third wave of coronavirus infections.
“We ask that the political approach to care and health be reversed, that we break with the essentially financial and economic approach that has prevailed until now, to look at the needs of the population”, declared the Minister. head of the FO-Santé union, Yves Veyrier.
“We cannot separate the quality of care and the reception of patients from the conditions under which we allow public service personnel to work, especially in hospitals,” he added.