Hospital: the decline in the number of beds continues

More than 4,300 full hospitalization beds were closed in 2021 in French health establishments, which at the same time created 2,700 partial hospitalization places, 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 of the social ministries (Drees).

21,000 fewer beds since 2016

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 cut 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. That is twice as much as under his predecessor François Hollande (-10,000) but significantly less than during Nicolas Sarkozy’s mandate (-37,000).

This long-term trend “reflects the desire to reorganize the offer in a context of ambulatory shift”a well-known expression to designate the growing share of care without overnight stays in hospitals, particularly in surgery.

Increase in hospitalization at home

The number of hospital places ” by day “ continued to rise: 2,743 were opened in 2021, bringing their total to 82,502, i.e. 9,000 more in five years. Home hospitalization also recorded a clear increase in capacity, by 6.8% after a jump of more than 10% in 2020.

With 22,800 patients “can be taken care of simultaneously on the territory”this support mode now represents “7.6% of total capacity in full hospitalization” excluding psychiatry, against 2.1% in 2006.


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