More than 4,300 full hospital beds were closed in 2021 in French health establishments, which at the same time created 2,700 places for partial hospitalization, according to a study by the Ministry of Health published on Tuesday, September 27. In addition to the Covid epidemic, which again led to the closure of wards and double rooms last year, hospital capacities have also suffered “staff constraints that do not allow the beds to be maintained”, explains the statistics department. social ministries (DREES).
As of December 31, the 2,984 public and private hospitals had exactly 382,587 full hospital beds, or 4,316 less in one year. A provisional figure down slightly compared to 2020 (-4,900) but still higher than the decreases observed before the health crisis. In total, more than 21,000 beds were eliminated over the period from the end of 2016 to the end of 2021, corresponding in large part to Emmanuel Macron’s first five-year term. Twice as much as under his predecessor François Hollande (-10,000) but significantly less than during the mandate of Nicolas Sarkozy (-37,000).
This long-term trend “reflects the desire to reorganize the offer in a context of ambulatory shift”, an expression used to designate the growing share of overnight care in the hospital, particularly in surgery. The number of “day” hospital places has also continued to rise: 2,743 were opened in 2021, bringing their total to 82,502, or 9,000 more in five years.
Home hospitalization also recorded a clear increase in its capacity, by 6.8% after a jump of more than 10% in 2020. With 22,800 patients “able to be cared for simultaneously on the territory”, this mode of care in care now represents “7.6% of total capacity in full hospitalization” excluding psychiatry, against 2.1% in 2006.