Ongoing study - The Belgian hospital landscape is characterised by a high density of emergency services. The dense emergency department landscape results in a 24/7 highly accessible system. At the same time a large number of hospital sites have a low number of emergency department contacts. One of the conclusions of KCE Report 263 on the organisation and payment system of emergency services was that a reduction of the number of emergency departments is indicated. Internationally, economies of scale are a main driver in these reforms but efficiency and accessibility should be balanced.
The aim of the current study is to assess the organisation (for example opening hours within a hospital network), the number and geographic spread of emergency departments. This will be done on the basis of an evaluation of accessibility (based on geographical information systems - GIS) and efficiency analyses. The latter will include an analysis of the relationship between activity (for example the number of emergency contacts) and (staff) costs. A review of the literature on organisation forms of emergency services for specific groups (for example the elderly and children) will be conducted to draw lessons for the Belgian context.