Purpose: Before taking decisions to add more beds and expand by providing health services, the decision makers should analyse the existing bed capacity in terms of the demographic distribution, subspecialties allocation, the occupancy rate and patient length of stay. Furthermore, they are required to appreciate the best possible way of utilising their existing assets effectively and efficiently. In this era, the aim of this article is to explore the different aspects affecting the hospital bed capacity in the literature. Followed by analysing the current situation of the hospital bed occupancy and utilisation in Kuwait and how far it is from other developed countries. Design/Methodology/Approach: Through conducting a literature review, an exploration of the different aspects affecting the hospital bed capacity and analysing the current situation of the hospital bed utilisation in Kuwait and how far it is from other developed countries will be achieved. By using a documentary review research method, secondary data will be approached using the national statistical references provided yearly by Kuwait’s MOH. The international statistics will be approached through reviewing NHS England, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development and USA databases and their publications electronically from their official websites. Findings: In Kuwait, expenditure in the healthcare services is increasing year after year and is expected to double within 5 years, if we consider the statistics of the last 10 years. Currently, 10 mega projects worth approximately 2 billion KD are being constructed in Kuwait. In comparison to 2013, where the total bed capacity of the governmental sector was 6663, the number of beds is expected to reach 13474 in 2020. This means that the bed capacity is expected to be doubled by adding 6772 beds. This decision is considered a big challenge especially with 63.6% average occupancy rate between the period from 2006 to 2015. Kuwait’s MOH should consider all the previous data for their future planning especially with the decision of adding more beds. Even with the low hospital bed occupancy rate in comparison to Europe countries, Kuwait’s government has taken the decision to expand their bed capacity in the next few years. One way to lower the bed cost is to improve and enhance their utilisation. Lean philosophy could have an essential role in enhancing the utilisation of the existing bed capacity and planning for any future requirements. Therefore, inappropriate usage of the existing beds is considered as a main factor that affects their efficiency. Originality/value: It is time to raise the following question: is there a requirement to add excess capacity in Kuwait’s healthcare organization? and if so, from economic analysis, what is the cost of that excess capacity and how will it be reflected on the quality of services. The decision of expanding an organisation’s bed capacity and infrastructure required bringing together all key stockholders under one umbrella and adopting analytical strategies that helps in making the right decisions considering the allocation and use of the existing hospital beds and added extra beds where it is required in order to have an efficient service. This paper highlights lean as an approach of optimising the use of the existing resources and managing the bed occupancy in an efficient way. In addition, the article explores the different factors that affect the decision of expanding the organization’s bed capacity and the influence of empty beds. Kuwait’s MOH requires more in-depth studying regarding the idea of adding more beds while examining their implication on different aspects. Policy makers are required to have a sustainable system and balancing between the supply and demand in the best possible way, to achieve an efficient productive system.
Kelendar H and Mohammed MA