Israel's health level slips in OECD study
Judy Siegel-Itzkovich
Of the 30 OECD nations, only Turkey and Mexico had fewer hospital beds per 1,000 residents than Israel.
Israel has the highest hospital bed occupancy rate in the developed (OECD) world, declining government spending on health, the second-highest rate of private, out-of-pocket expenditures on health services, a shrinking number of physicians and one of the highest rates of patients per nurse. These worrisome statistics were released Thursday in an international comparative study on the health systems of 30 OECD countries. The study's Israel section was written by outgoing Health Ministry deputy director-general for economics Gabi Bin-Nun and colleague Nir Kedar. They supplied Israeli figures for the comparison of nearly two dozen health indicators. Of the 30 OECD nations, only Turkey and Mexico had fewer hospital beds per 1,000 residents than Israel, which had 2.1 compared to 8.2 in Japan, 6.4 in Germany and South Korea and 4.7 in Poland. State spending on health as a percentage of the Gross Domestic Product was the ninth lowest, at 7.8 percent, compared to 15.3% in the US, 10.3% in Belgium and 8.2% in Spain. The only countries lower than Israel were Korea, Poland, Mexico, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Ireland, Finland and Turkey. Average hospital bed occupancy in Israel is 95%, compared to 67% in the US, 76% in Italy, 63% in Holland and 61% in Mexico. Regarding life expectancy, Israeli women are ranked No. 20 compared to women in other countries, while Israeli men are No. 11 compared to other men. The rate of "dependents" in Israel (children up to the age of 14 and elderly over 65) who need more health care is the highest among all OECD countries.
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