About one-third of the general practices in the Oxfordshire Health District have access to beds in community hospitals as well as district general hospitals. Hospital Activity Analysis data were used to calculate the average number of hospital beds occupied daily by patients registered with each general practice in the district. Practices with and without access to community hospitals were compared to determine whether such access was associated with a reduction in the use of beds in general medical, geriatric, and other specialties, and an increase in overall utilisation rates. The rate of use of general medical and geriatric beds in district general hospitals by practice populations with access to community hospitals was about half that of populations without such access. Utilisation rates overall, combining the use of beds in both district general hospitals and community hospitals, were a little higher in populations with access to both community hospitals and district general hospitals than in those with access to district general hospitals only.
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