Public hospitals continue to account for over 60% of public health sector expenditure. The rationalisation of hospitals has been high in the Department of Healths priorities and this chapter reviews some of the changes that have occurred with respect to expenditure, hospital beds and general efficiency gains with the public sector hospitals.
There have been reductions in the number of beds in use in most provinces, and in particular in the Western Cape and Gauteng. These reductions have not been accompanied by significant increases in bed occupancy rates. Expenditure on hospitals since 1992/93 has increased at a rate slower than that of the public health sector as a whole, but in the last three years increases in funding to tertiary hospitals have outstripped those for other hospitals. There continue to be large inter-provincial variations in spending, bed availability and staffing of hospital services.