Israeli health practitioner numbers rose over past decade - report

The proportion of male and female doctors, nurses and dentists in Israel has increased in recent years after a decrease in the previous decade.

 Surgeons perform surgery on a patient at Assuta Medical Center in Tel Aviv.  (photo credit: Moshe Milner/GPO)
Surgeons perform surgery on a patient at Assuta Medical Center in Tel Aviv.
(photo credit: Moshe Milner/GPO)

A recently released Health Ministry report showed an increase of practitioners in most types of healthcare in the past decade, however, only 38% of licenses to practice were awarded to graduates of local educational institutions. Almost half the licenses went to Israelis who attended faculties abroad, and 13% to new immigrants.

The report, titled “Manpower in the health professions for 2021” and based on data from the ministry and the Central Bureau of Statistics, aims to help decision-makers and researchers plan for health service personnel needs.

According to the report, the proportion of male and female doctors, nurses and dentists has increased in recent years after a decrease in the previous decade. The number of pharmacists, psychologists, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, communication clinicians, dietitians, dentists, optometrists and clinical geneticists continues to increase.

Outgoing ministry director-general Prof. Nachman Ash wrote, “Israel’s health system in Israel is one of the best in the world. The main reason for this is that it is based on excellent and high-quality personnel. As part of the strategic plan for the coming decade, we are working hard to increase the number of quality people working in the health system.”

“Israel’s health system in Israel is one of the best in the world. The main reason for this is that it is based on excellent and high-quality personnel. As part of the strategic plan for the coming decade, we are working hard to increase the number of quality people working in the health system.”

Prof. Nachman Ash

AFFILIATED WITH BGU’s Medical School, Assuta Ashdod is helping to train Israel’s next generation of physicians (credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)AFFILIATED WITH BGU’s Medical School, Assuta Ashdod is helping to train Israel’s next generation of physicians (credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)

What are the statistics for Israeli healthcare professionals?

In 2021, a quarter of physicians in Israel were 67 or older, an increase from 17% in 2010. Some 37% were younger than 45, an increase from 29% in 2010. The percentage of female doctors below the age of 67 increased from 41% in 2010 to 43% a decade later.

The rate of male and female dentists employed in Israel is higher than the OECD average. About half of the new licenses in dentistry and 75% of those in psychology were issued to women.

The rate of employed doctors increased to 3.3 per 1,000 people in 2020, from 3.0 in 2014. The average in OECD countries was 3.6 in that year. There were 2,024 new medical licenses granted in 2021 – a 2.8-fold increase from 727 in 2010. At the end of 2021, 43,262 doctors had licenses to practice medicine, of which 32,520 were below the age of 67.

At the end of 2021, there were 23,215 medical specialists, of which 17,368 were 67 or younger, with 1,057 added during 2021. In that year, 1,777 male and female doctors began their hospital internships and residencies – an increase from 881 in 2010. In 2021, 1,057 new medical specialists were added, an increase from 586 in 2010.

The rate of employed nurses was 5.1 per 1,000 people in 2020, a figure much lower than the 9.7 average in OECD countries. However, the number of new nursing licenses rose to 3,572 in 2021, from 929 in 2010. There were 77,445 nurses at the end of 2021, of which 61,310 were younger than 67.

There were 0.87 dentists per 1,000 Israelis in 2020, higher than the OECD average. In 2021, 408 new dentistry licenses were issued, and by the end of that year, there were 12,690 licensed dentists, of which 10,339 were below retirement age.

The rate of employed pharmacists was 0.90 per 1,000 people in 2020 – similar to the OECD average of 0.87. In 2021, 305 new pharmacy licenses were issued, compared to 537 in 2010.

At the end of 2021, there were 10,052 licensed pharmacists, of which 8,767 were under the age of 67.

A total of 590 new licenses in psychology were issued in 2021. There are 15,807 psychologists in Israel, of which 13,266 are under retirement age. At the end of 2021, there were 8,864 expert psychologists with at least master’s degrees, of whom 6,951 were under the age of 67; 55% were clinical psychologists and 27% educational psychologists.

There were 7,000 physiotherapists below retirement age in 2021 – 67% of them women.

At the end of 2021, there were 3,612 dietitians, 94% of them women. The total number reflects a 2.5-fold increase from 2010.

There were 6,119 speech therapists below the age of 67, 0.65 per 1,000 people, a 2.4-fold increase from 2010. Here, too, almost all were women.

There were 6,844 occupational therapists up to the age of 67 in 2021, 0.72 per 1,000 people, a twofold increase from 2010. Of the total, 96% were women.