Health at a Glance 2021

OECD Indicators

image of Health at a Glance 2021

Health at a Glance provides a comprehensive set of indicators on population health and health system performance across OECD members and key emerging economies. These cover health status, risk factors for health, access to and quality of health care, and health resources. Analysis draws from the latest comparable official national statistics and other sources.

Alongside indicator-by-indicator analysis, an overview chapter summarises the comparative performance of countries and major trends. This edition also has a special focus on the health impact of COVID-19 in OECD countries, including deaths and illness caused by the virus, adverse effects on access and quality of care, and the growing burden of mental ill-health.

English Also available in: French

Hospital beds and occupancy

The number of hospital beds provides an indication of the resources available for delivering services to inpatients. The COVID‑19 pandemic has highlighted the need to have a sufficient number of hospital beds and flexibility in their use, to address any unexpected surge in demand for intensive care, together with a sufficient number of doctors and nurses with the right skills to provide the required services (OECD/European Union, 2020[14]). Still, a surplus of hospital beds may lead to overuse and therefore costs – notably for patients whose outcomes may not improve from intensive care (Phua, Hashmi and Haniffa, 2020[15]). Therefore, while policy makers should guarantee sufficient hospital bed capacity to ensure resilience, value‑for-money considerations should also be taken into account.

English Also available in: French


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