Israel lags behind developed world in number of nurses, physicians

The rate of doctors, dentists, dental technicians and medical lab workers continued to decline in 2014.

January 28, 2016 05:31
1 minute read.
A doctor stands with stethoscope in this undated handout photo.

A doctor stands with stethoscope in this undated handout photo.. (photo credit: REUTERS)


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Although efforts have been made to increase the number of physicians and nurses, there still are not enough.

This is one of the conclusions to be drawn from the Health Ministry’s annual report on manpower in the medical professions, released for publication on Thursday.

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The report, which covers 2014, compares manpower rates here with those in Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development countries.

The rate of doctors, dentists, dental technicians and medical lab workers continued to decline in 2014; the rate of nurses stabilized after a decline in the decade of 2000; and the rate of pharmacists, psychologists, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, clinical communications specialists, dental hygienists, clinical dietitians, optometrists and clinical geneticists rose.

In 2014, there were 3.4 working physicians per 1,000 residents, similar to 3.2 in the OECD. However, in the coming years, many doctors who immigrated 25 years ago from the former Soviet Union will retire, and the shortage is expected to grow.

In that year, 1,184 medical licenses were issued, a rise from 721 six years ago.

A total of 536 in 2014 were Israeli graduates and the rest studied abroad. The number of hospital residents studying a medical specialty rose to 1,188 from 921 in 2010.

While there are 9.8 nurses per 1,000 people in the OECD, the figure here is only 4.9 – a very significant difference that affects the health system on a daily basis. This problem continues, even though in 2014, 1,974 nurses were licensed, twice the number added in 2010.

The number of dentists per 1,000 is 0.67, similar to the OECD rate of 0.66. A total of 292 dentists received licenses, 59 of them local graduates and the rest graduated abroad.

As for pharmacists, Israel has a lower rate than the OECD, 0.73 per 1,000 compared to 0.83 which is the OECD average. A total of 433 pharmacists were licensed, of whom 55 percent graduated abroad and 39 percent got their diplomas here.

The number of psychologists working here is 8,200, or one per 1,000, with 526 new licenses in 2014 compared to only 300 a year a decade ago.

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