We used a mathematical model to describe a regional outbreak and extrapolate the underlying health-service resource needs. This model was designed to (i) estimate resource gaps and quantities of resources needed, (ii) show the effect of resource gaps, and (iii) highlight which particular resources should be improved. We ran the model, parameterized with data from the 2009 H1N1v pandemic, for two provinces in Thailand. The predicted number of preventable deaths due to resource shortcomings and the actual resource needs are presented for two provinces and for Thailand as a whole. The model highlights the potentially huge impact of health-system resource availability and of resource gaps on health outcomes during a pandemic and provides a means to indicate where efforts should be concentrated to effectively improve pandemic response programmes.