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Distribution of hospital beds across Saudi Arabia from 2015 to 2019: a cross-sectional study


Adequate access to health care systems is considered a basic human right. Therefore, it is important that health care services be delivered to those who need them most in the most efficient manner possible. Aim: We evaluated the distribution of hospital beds across Saudi Arabia from 2015 to 2019 to assess inequalities in hospital resource allocation.


This cross-sectional study utilized data from the Health Statistical Yearbook published by the Ministry of Health during the period 2015-2019. The number of hospital beds per 100 000 population was calculated for the 20 health regions. Generation of other parameters, such as the Gini index and the Lorenz curve, was performed to assess the distribution of beds. The Pearson coefficient was calculated to assess the correlation between beds and population in each health region


The ratio of hospital beds to population improved from 2015 to 2019 in areas such as Ha'il, Tabouk and Ta'if, which increased by 89.6, 72.5 and 32.5 respectively. The calculated mean Gini index for bed distribution in the public sector was 0.21; in the private sector it was 0.53. There was a strong positive correlation between population and hospital beds in Riyadh, Qaseem, Eastern and Ha'il regions.


In Saudi Arabia the observed inequalities in hospital bed distributions lie mainly in the private sector. It is recommended that policymakers be aware of such inequalities and work on possible reforms to achieve the goals of Saudi Vision 2030.