Number of doctors, dentists and nurses declines

Percentage of psychologists, health professionals relative to general population drops, still higher than most OECD countries.

November 30, 2011 03:32
2 minute read.
Empty hospital corridor [illustrative]

Hospital beds 311. (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)


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The rates of physicians, nurses, dentists, dental technicians and assistants to pharmacists compared to the population continued to decline in 2010, according to a statistical report on health professionals released for publication on Wednesday.

At the same time, the rate of psychologists, dental hygienists, optometrists, pharmacists, medical-lab workers, clinical geneticists, physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech therapists and dietitians declined.

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The figures, which were presented in comparison with OECD figures, represent registered professionals. Although the rate of physicians continues to decline, it is still higher compared to the OECD average.

The rate of new Israeli medical school graduates remains low – just 4 per 100,000 – compared to the much-higher rate of 9.9 per 100,000 listed as the OECD average.

The rate of MDs up to the age of 65 dropped during the past decade from 3.71 per 1,000 in the year 2000 to 3.38 in 2010.

The number of physicians who are soon retiring, or have recently retired, has reduced the number of doctors – especially of immigrants from the former Soviet Union. The rate of new medical licenses issued has also declined from 775 in 2009 to 731 last year.

Most of the Israelis studying medicine abroad last year were in Hungary (64), Italy (23) Romania (22) and Jordan, Egypt or Syria (a total of 22).

The number of Israelis studying abroad to be physicians as risen to 350 compared to 239 during the previous year. Women are taking a growing share of medicine, with them constituting 42 percent of all physicians up to the age of 65, and 47% of those up to the age of 45.

Fewer physicians are satisfied to be general practitioners, while the rate of specialists is growing. There are now 1.77 medical specialists per 1,000 Israelis, compared to just 1.53 per 1,000 a decade ago.

A total of 57% of the specialists are experts in internal medicine, pediatrics, family medicine, obstetrics and gynecology and psychiatry.

There has been an increase of women in pediatric and adolescent psychiatry, family medicine, geriatrics, endocrinology and diagnostic radiology.

As for nurses, their rates in the population is lower than the OECD average. The rate of new nursing school graduates is only 11.4 per 100,000 residents, compared to 39.1 as the OECD average. And the average age of nurses is rising.

There are only 1.07 dentists up to age 65 per 1,000 residents in Israel compared to 1.12 in 2000 – a 5% reduction. But the rate is still higher than the OECD average. Thirty-seven percent of Israeli dentists are women, and the rate of dental specialists is rising somewhat.

Summarizing all the medical and health-related professions, the survey found that 181,000 Israelis are employed in this civilian sector, including 26,000 physicians and 35,000.

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