Bed occupancy rates have been proposed to reflect the ability of a hospital to provide safe efficient patient care. The Australian Medical Association and the Australasian College of Emergency Medicine have acknowledged that bed occupancy rates above 85% negatively impact on the safe and efficient operation of a hospital. In its Position Statement on "Acute Hospital Bed Capacity" (March 2005), the Irish Medical Organisation has also acknowledged an average bed occupancy of 85% as an "internationally recognised measure" that should not be exceeded. In 2005 the average hospital bed occupancy in the 30 OECD countries was 75%.

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