There seem never to be enough hospital beds to meet patient needs. But one consolation we have is that the situation could be much Worse—as indeed it is in many countries in the Western world. A recent Annotation1 from Britain, where hospital construction is the responsibility of the government's Ministry of Health, characterizes this Ministry as "Apathetics Anonymous," and points out that Britain "... not only has thirty years' leeway to make good but is still losing ground."
Here, although a shortage of hospital bed space exists, it is not severe and we seem able more or less to keep pace with the increase in population. No one knows yet what impact Medicare will have, of course. But why is the situation appreciably better here than, for example, in Great Britain?
A large portion of credit must go to the Hill-Burton program, which reaches its 20th anniversary this month. The
TWENTY YEARS OF HILL-BURTON. JAMA. 1966;197(6):507. doi:10.1001/jama.1966.03110060181031