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Excess Number Of Hospital Beds In South Korea Affects Healthcare Quality And Services

by Subhro Prakash Ghosh / Mar 14, 2018 04:01 AM EDT
Excess Number Of Hospital Beds In South Korea Affects Healthcare Quality And Services (Photo By: ARIRANG NEWS / YouTube Screenshot)

Healthcare problem in South Korea is quite different from other nations where people expect the government to increase the number of hospitals, beds, and other facilities. In South Korea, the excess number of hospital beds is making it tough for the medical workers to offer quality services to the patients.

The nation has the second highest number of acute care beds

The recent accident at Sejong hospital that killed over 40 people and left several injured was a warning to dispose of small, low-quality hospitals and shorten the overall number of hospital beds. According to Korea Biometric Review, South Korea possesses more long-term care beds than Japan, which is considered a super-aged society. The studies show that South Korea had the second highest number of acute care beds with 7.3 among the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD countries) in 2014, whereas Japan stands first with 7.9. As far as the long-term care beds are concerned, Korea stands first with 34.1, which is more than three times that of Japan with 10.3.

Is South Korean government taking any measures to curb such growth?

The website further reports the South Korean government is giving its effort to institute a new category for rehabilitation hospitals to arrest the growing number of hospital beds. The government is also planning to shift some beds of long-term care hospitals to rehabilitation hospitals. Presently, the hospitals are categorized into two types named long-term care hospital and acute care hospitals.

The total number of beds at the hospitals will amount to 692,345 with 35.6 percent, 246,373 beds that belong to the long-term care hospitals. The number of beds for long-term care hospitals represents more despite the fact that this category consists of only 12 percent of the total hospitals.

Since October 2017, the Ministry of Health and Welfare has commenced out a pilot project for rehabilitation hospitals. The aim of the government is to commence the project as early as possible by 2019 and expand beds at rehabilitation hospitals. Their purpose is to move a substantial amount of hospital beds to the rehabilitation hospitals periodically.

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