UK and US place have fewer doctors than Costa Rica, Lithuania and Russia

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The UK and US have among the fewest doctors of all the world's developed nations, a report has revealed.  

With just 2.8 and 2.6 doctors for every 1,000 people, the UK and US's health services are worse staffed than countries such as Costa Rica, Russia and Lithuania.

Greece has the most doctors (6.1) of all developed nations. Austria, Portugal, Norway and Lithuania also ranked among the highest.

Indonesia, India and South Africa were worst off, with none of the nations having a single doctor for every 1,000 patients. 

Experts said health staff shortages were 'not new' for countries in the report, and doctor numbers are dropping as older generations of medics retire without enough young replacements. 

A report by the OECD economic organisation revealed that Greece, Austria and Portugal had the best staffed health services while Indonesia, India and South Africa were worst off – the UK and US ranked towards the lower end of the table

A report by the OECD economic organisation revealed that Greece, Austria and Portugal had the best staffed health services while Indonesia, India and South Africa were worst off – the UK and US ranked towards the lower end of the table

The figures were based on 2017 data published today in the Health at a Glance 2019 report by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

The OECD is an international organisation with 36 member states, and studies the economies and populations of developed countries.

'Concerns about shortages of health professionals are not new... but these concerns have grown in many countries, especially as the “baby-boom” generation of doctors and nurses starts to retire,' the report read.

'Over the past decade, concerns about the ageing medical workforce moving towards retirement have prompted many OECD countries to increase the number of students in medical and nursing education programmes.

WHICH COUNTRIES HAVE THE MOST DOCTORS?
Greece (6.1 doctors per 1,000 patients) Austria (5.2) Portugal (5) Norway (4.7) Lithuania (4.6) Switzerland (4.3) Germany (4.3) Sweden (4.1) Russia (4) Denmark (4)
WHICH COUNTRIES HAVE THE FEWEST DOCTORS?
Indonesia (0.3 doctors per 1,000 patients) India (0.8) South Africa (0.8) Brazil (1.8) Turkey (1.9) China (2) Colombia (2.1) South Korea (2.3) Poland (2.4) Mexico (2.4) 

'While some countries, such as Australia, have already started to see the benefits of earlier increases in medical education places, the long duration of doctors’ training means that it takes a decade or more to feel the impact of increasing intake into medical education.'

The average number of doctors per 1,000 people was 3.5 for all of the countries in the report.

More countries fell below the average than above it, including some of the world's most powerful nations in the US, Canada, UK, France, Japan and China.

Canada was on par with the UK and US, with 2.7, while Australia had more than average, with 3.7. 

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