Doctor, Doctor

Medical visits
Page 56 

Hungarians were consulting their doctors on average almost 20 times a year in the late 1990s, a 79% increase from the frequency in 1980, making them the heaviest users of medical services in the OECD. Hungarians were also among the most likely to be admitted to hospital, with 237.5 admissions per 1,000 population in the late 1990s, second only to Austria (286.3) and Finland (265), according to the latest Health at a Glance study.

Turks increased their visits to the doctor by 67% over the same period, but were still the least likely OECD residents to call the doctor, with an average 2.1 visits per head of population per year. They were also among the least likely to be admitted to hospital, with 73.9 admissions per 1,000 population.

The average number of medical consultations across 18 OECD countries in 1997 was around seven per year. The range cannot simply be explained by the number of doctors available in each case – the number of physicians per 1,000 population increased by between 30% and 40% in both Poland and Hungary over the period, although the ratio of consultations fell by 18% in Poland. On average, across the OECD the rate of increase in consultations has been slower than the growth rate in the number of physicians. Whether consultations are getting longer or doctors are working shorter hours is not clear, since the numbers combine part-time and full-time doctors.

• Health at a Glance, OECD, 2001.

©OECD Observer No 230, January 2002

Economic data


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