A recent study by the Nuffield Trust and the Health Foundation has found that one in five hospital admissions are "unnecessary" and that the UK “can and should do better" in preventing the waste of hospital beds.
Researchers looked at ambulatory care sensitive conditions (ACSCs) like asthma and diabetes, where the medical community agrees that effective community care and case management can help prevent severe episodes that require stays in hospital.
The UK and Ireland are tied with 2.8 hospital beds per 1,000 people - but according to the OECD, in Ireland the rate of ACSC admissions has fallen in recent years, so the 2.8 beds per Irish person are better allocated than those in the UK.
What's more, the UK's population is ageing rapidly. The number of people aged 65 and over is projected to increase from 10.84m in 2012 to 17.79m by 2037, for which an increase in demand for NHS services is certain.
Even though it has the highest number of beds, at 13.3 for every 1,000 of the population, Japan also has the lowest ACSC admission rate.