Intensive Care Medicine

, Volume 30, Issue 4, pp 660–664 | Cite as

Economies of scale in British intensive care units and combined intensive care/high dependency units

  • Philip JacobsEmail author
  • John Rapoport
  • David Edbrooke



To estimate the relationship between size of intensive care unit and combined intensive care/high dependency units and average costs per patient day.


Retrospective data analysis. Multiple regression of average costs on critical care unit size, controlling for teaching status, type of unit, occupancy rate and average length of stay.


Seventy-two United Kingdom adult intensive care and combined intensive care/high dependency units submitting expenditure data for the financial year 2000–2001 as part of the Critical Care National Cost Block Programme.



Measurements and results

The main outcome measures were total cost per patient day and the following components: staffing cost, consumables cost and clinical support services costs. Nursing Whole Time Equivalents per patient day were recorded. The unit size variable has a negative and statistically significant (p<0.05) coefficient in regressions for total, staffing and consumables cost. The predicted average cost for a seven-bed unit is about 96% of that predicted for a six-bed critical care unit.


Policy makers should consider the possibility of economies of scale in planning intensive care and combined intensive care/high dependency units.


Cost and cost analysis Intensive care units 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Health EconomicsEdmontonCanada
  2. 2.Department of EconomicsMount Holyoke CollegeSouth HadleyUSA
  3. 3.Medical Economics and Research Centre, Sheffield (MERCS), Intensive Care Unit ‘R’ Floor Royal Hallamshire HospitalSheffieldUK

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