| Click for the Finfacts Ireland Portal Homepage |

Finfacts Business News Centre

News Main Page 
 
 News
 Irish
 European
 International
 Asia-Pacific Business Week
 
 Analysis/Comment

RSS FEED


How to use our RSS feed

 
Web Finfacts

Welcome

Finfacts is Ireland's leading business information site and you are in its business news section.

We provide access to live business television and business related videos from: Bloomberg TV; The Wall Street Journal; CNBC and the Financial Times. Click image:

Links

Finfacts Homepage

Global News

Bloomberg News

CNN Money

Cnet Tech News

Newspapers

Irish Independent

Irish Times

Irish Examiner

New York Times

Financial Times

Technology News

 

Feedback

 

Search

News : International Last Updated: Dec 19th, 2007 - 13:17:15


Medical profession is big growth industry; Number of doctors in OECD countries has increased by 35% over the past 15 years to 2.8 million
By Finfacts Team
Jul 18, 2007, 10:30

Email this article
 Printer friendly page

Big format charts can be accessed from bottom of page. Source: OECD
The medical profession is a growth industry: 
OECD Health Data 2007 shows that the number of doctors in OECD countries has increased by 35% over the past fifteen years to 2.8 million. In most countries, this growth was driven largely by rising numbers of specialists – up nearly 50% between 1990 and 2005 - compared with the 20% increase in general practitioners (GPs). 

Ireland's number of doctors per 1,000 population was 2.8 in 2005 compared with Greece's 4.9 and the average of the 30 member countries of the Paris-based government think-tank, the OECD.

Specialists now account for more than half of all physicians in most OECD countries, with the exceptions of Australia and Belgium, where GPs continue to outnumber specialists, and France, Portugal, New Zealand and Turkey, where their numbers are equal.

Income levels, a determining factor in the supply of doctors, vary a lot across OECD countries. Specialists generally earn substantially more than GPs, partially explaining the changing specialist/GP balance and the resulting concerns about GP shortages in several countries. Specialists’ incomes are high relative to average national income in the Netherlands, Belgium and the United States, but quite low in Hungary and the Czech Republic.  GPs have high incomes (also in comparison with average national income) in the United States, New Zealand and the United Kingdom, and relatively low incomes in Hungary and the Czech Republic.

Large variations in the number of doctors per capita in OECD countries

There are large variations across countries in the number of practising doctors per capita,  ranging from highs of 4 or more per 1000 population in Greece and Belgium, to below 2 in Turkey, Korea and Mexico. 

The ratio of practising doctors per 1000 population grew between 1990 and 2005 in nearly all OECD countries, but at a slower rate than in the previous fifteen year period.  This is a result of cost-containment measures introduced by many countries during the 1980s and 1990s which reduced the number of new doctors by limiting medical school intakes (so-called “numerus clausus” policies). 

From 1990 to 2005, the annual number of medical students graduating declined in France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Spain and Switzerland.  If training efforts do not increase significantly in the near future, many countries will have to rely increasingly on foreign-trained doctors as the baby-boom generation of doctors retires from the profession.    

The OECD’s  International Migration Outlook, already released on 25 June, examined the “brain drain” of doctors from lower-income to higher-income countries.  Between 2000 and 2005, the share of foreign-trained doctors rose in many OECD countries. In 2005, the United Kingdom, Ireland, the United States, Australia, New Zealand and Canada had the highest share of foreign-trained doctors, with some one-quarter to one-third of all practising doctors trained in another country. And the share of foreign-trained doctors is growing rapidly in Switzerland, France and some of the Nordic countries.

Health spending continuing to grow faster than the economy as a whole

OECD Health Data 2007 also notes that a growing share of the economy is devoted to health across OECD countries.  Per capita health spending increased by more than 80% in real terms between 1990 and 2005 on average in OECD countries, outpacing the 37% growth in GDP per capita. In 1970, health spending accounted for just 5% of GDP.  By 1990, this share had increased to nearly 7%.  Today, it has climbed to 9%.  One in four OECD countries now spends more than 10% of its income on health.  With a 15.3% share in 2005, the United States leads by a wide margin, followed by Switzerland (11.6%), France (11.1%) and Germany (10.7%).

As long as health spending continues to outpace economic growth, governments will either need to raise taxes or social security contributions, reduce spending in other areas or make people pay more out of their own pockets for health goods and services. 

OECD Health Data 2007 is the most comprehensive source of comparable statistics on health and health systems across the 30 OECD countries.  Covering the period 1960 to 2005, this interactive database can be used for comparative analyses on:

  • Health status

  • Health care resources

  • Health care utilisation

  • Expenditure on health

  • Financing of health care

  • Social protection (including public health coverage and private health insurance)

  • Pharmaceutical markets

  • Non-medical determinants of health (including smoking and obesity).

Charts (Temporaily allow pop-ups if you cannot view)

1. Practising physicians per 1000 population, OECD countries, 2005

2. Physicians’ remuneration, specialists and general practitioners, OECD countries, 2005

3. Total expenditure on health as a share of GDP, selected OECD countries, 1990 to 2005

4. Health expenditure per capita, public and private, OECD countries, 2005

5. Public share of health expenditure, OECD countries, 2005 and change since 1990

6. Out-of-pocket and private health insurance spending as a share of total expenditure on health, OECD countries, 2005


© Copyright 2007 by Finfacts.com

Top of Page

International
Latest Headlines
Markets News Wednesday: Stocks deep in red ink across the globe: Asia-Pacific and Europe slump following grim day in New York
Apple launches MacBook Air - the world’s thinnest notebook
Europe suffered a slowdown in labour productivity in 2007; Rich countries face struggle to achieve rises in living standards
Wednesday Newspaper Review - Irish Business News and International Stories
Intel reports 51% rise in Q4 2007 net income but cautious outlook for 2008 sends shares plunging 14% in after-hours trading
Markets News Afternoon: Citi rains heavily on markets in Europe and US - Dublin plunges almost 4%
US retail sales fell in December signalling that consumer spending is under strain; Producer/Wholesale prices rose 6.3% in 2007 - the highest since 1981
Citigroup reported Q4 2007 loss of $9.83 billion; Write-downs and increased credit costs were a massive $22.2 billion
Markets News Tuesday: Citi bad news awaited; Markets fall in Asia-Pacific and Europe; Dollar up from near record low against Euro; Gold price over $900
Hong Kong and Singapore again head Index of Economic Freedom; Ireland gets third ranking
Tuesday Newspaper Review - Irish Business News and International Stories
US Hedge Fund Index shows return of 11.15% in 2007 - More than double the S&P 500 performance
Markets News Afternoon: Stocks rally in US and Europe boosted by positive fourth quarter data from IBM and SAP
IBM reports strong fourth quarter preliminary earnings boosted by Asia, Europe and Emerging Countries
Markets News Monday: Start of US fourth quarter earnings season has investors worried about how banks and brokerages have performed
Monday Newspaper Review - Irish Business News and International Stories
US study says Environmental Factors shaping New Global Economy
Markets News Afternoon: Report say Merrill Lynch will announce $15bn loss next week; Stocks down in US and Europe - Dublin market up; Gold tops $900
US trade deficit increased to $63.1 billion in November
OECD Composite Leading Indicators signal a downswing in all major OECD economies