Doctors and physicians, 2008


Observations for policy

Health care is an important SGI. Both demographic and economic factors play an important role in the location of local health centres. In many cases, their location is determined by the combination of market factors and political decisions.

Many economic and demographically disadvantaged regions face the risk of becoming even more disadvantaged as a consequence of the budget cuts needed to manage the financial crisis. This could hamper policy ambitions concerning economic, social and territorial cohesion as the gap between rich and poor regions can be expected to increase.

The map underlines the importance of continuing the efforts initiated by the EU in improving trans-European networks and, at the same time, promoting environmentally friendly and climate smart transport modalities.

Policy context

The importance given to SGI reflects the obligation of local and regional authorities in ensuring the provision of public services in accordance with certain standards, particularly in terms of quality, availability, and affordability. This also applies to doctors and physicians.

Map interpretation

The number of doctors and physicians in the second pillar in SGI for health care. The first pillar concerns the number of hospital beds.

The map discloses the number of doctors and physicians per 100 000 inhabitants. Despite some specificities related to the related to the distribution of doctors and physicians, this indicator has less domestic differences than one on hospital beds.

In Europe, differences are quite striking in Poland, Romania or Turkey. These countries disclose a rather low number of doctors and physicians per capita when compared to the rest of Europe. At regional level, the map shows that differences are rather high in many countries but not necessarily linked to demand from population. As expected, capital cities and metropolitan regions do not assume an upright position. National policies and internal funding seem to be the main factors in defining the number of professions in this field per 100 000 inhabitants.

Concepts and methods

The definition applied to SGI is twofold. On the one hand, it aggregates social services of general interest, including education, health care, housing and social assistance services. On the other, it aggregates services of general economic interest that encompass gas, electricity, postal services, or transport.

The number of doctors and physicians is frequently used to show the availability and sufficiency of health care systems. Despite the lack of information to differentiate the number of doctors and physicians, the later is more focused on general health care. Besides, the indicator does not differentiate if it is hospital staff or medical practice employees.