Number of MDs, dentists down

One-tenth of dentists completed a dental specialty.

December 25, 2016 01:02
2 minute read.

Dentist´s instruments. (photo credit: INGIMAGE)

A Health Ministry report on the medical professions has shown the number of physicians, dentists and medical lab workers declined in 2015 compared to 2014.

The number of nurses remained stable, but the ranks of pharmacists, psychologists, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, speech and hearing therapists, dietitians, optometrists and dental hygienists increased.

Last year there were 3.5 physicians per 1,000 residents, about the same as the OECD average, but the rate of medical school graduates was low, at 6.3 per 1,000, compared to 11.9 in the average.

The number of new medical licenses granted by the ministry rose to 1,259, compared to only 722 six years ago and 548 in 2007. More new medical doctors graduated from Israeli medical schools, with 484 in 2015, compared to 344 six years ago.

The number of graduates abroad rose impressively to 540 last year, compared to only 188 in 2010. The share of women MDs is 43%, compared to only 34% 11 years ago.

But the report showed that many MDs are elderly, with 26,029 younger than 65 and 31,590 younger than 75. Of those, 19,153 physicians are in medical specialties, but half of them are aged 45 to 65. A growing number of doctors prefer to go into a specialty, with fewer becoming general practitioners.

Three-fifths of specialists are internal medicine specialists, psychiatrists, family physicians, obstetricians/gynecologists and pediatricians. After declining a decade ago, the number of medical residents learning a specialty is increasing.

There are far too few nurses, with only 4.9 per 1,000 population, compared to 9.5 in the OECD average. Last year, thanks to scholarship incentives, there was a rise in the number of new nurses, yet only 40% of all nurses in the country are younger than 45.

As for dentists, Israel has 0.77 per 1,000, higher than the OECD average of 0.67. The rate of local graduates is only 0.73 per 100,000, lower than the 2.49 average. Forty-four percent of new dentists are women.

One-tenth of dentists completed a dental specialty.

A significant share of pharmacists are Arabs who studied abroad, especially in Jordan, the former Soviet Union, Romania and Italy. Only half of dentists in Israel graduated here. Of those, 59% were women.

There were 8,700 psychologists in the health services, or 1.1 per 1,000 people, and the rate is rising. Three-quarters are women and half of them are under the age of 45. Over half were clinical psychologists and 28% educational psychologists.

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