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The load and capacity model of healthcare delivery: considerations for the crisis management of the COVID-19 pandemic

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Article numberJTD-2020-54
Pages (from-to)3022-3030
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Thoracic Disease
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2020


King's Authors


During the winter of 2019/20 a novel coronavirus, COVID-19, caused a worldwide pandemic, first in China and then spreading to Europe, America and other parts of the world. It led to an unprecedented impact on public health with millions of confirmed cases. Prolonged lockdowns were enforced in many countries and affected more than half of the human population at its peak. Non-vaccination measures of public health were required to avoid healthcare services being overwhelmed with the sudden influx of infected patients who required critical care to survive severe hypoxic respiratory failure. Restrictions to public lives included self-isolation, quarantine and a sophisticated system of testing, case finding, as well as ‘social distancing’ and isolation to avoid spreading the infection further. Affected healthcare systems came to the limit of their regular capacities. Creation of special COVID-19 positive wards, particularly in respiratory and critical care, redeployment of staff, additional resources, ventilators and consumables, including personal protective equipment (PPE), was required on a large scale to cope with the sudden surge in patients. The load-to-capacity model of healthcare delivery and timely considerations regarding investment into healthcare, as discussed in this perspective, merit attention to prepare healthcare policymakers and providers for mitigating the impact of future pandemics on public health.

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