How many medical doctors does each European country have per 1,000 people?
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This map shows an interesting statistic. It shows how many practising medical doctors each country has compared to its population.
We can see that Austria and Norway have the highest number of medical doctors per capita. On the other end, we can see that Poland has far fewer medical doctors than other European countries.
Does this in any way relate to the quality of the healthcare system? The problem is, that there isn’t a great metric or index to properly score the country’s healthcare system. There are 2 sources that could be used as a reference: A paper by the WHO on the efficiency of the healthcare systems and the Numbeo Health Care Index. The WHO doesn’t state a publication date, but seems to be from 2000. Quite old indeed. Numbeo’s index is based on a survey that people can fill in on their website.
So, based on those 2 systems, which are the best healthcare systems in Europe on this map? These are France, Spain, Italy, Denmark and Austria. France ranks at the top of both rankings. However, it has one of the lowest numbers of medical doctors per 1,000 people. Spain, Denmark and Italy have a similar number. Austria has the highest in Europe.
The lower scoring countries are Ireland, Hungary, Latvia, Poland and Russia. We can again see quite a variation in the number of medical doctors per 1,000 people.
So, based on those two indexes, there doesn’t seem to be a strong link between the number of practising medical doctors per 1,000 people and the quality of the healthcare system. Of course, the quality of the healthcare system is determined by much more than just the number of medical doctors. However, to make a reliable comparison, one has to use a much more reliable index that rates the quality of each country’s healthcare system. Sadly, such index does not exist yet.