Turkey ranks last in Europe for doctor-to-patient ratio
Recent data from the EU Statistical Office, Eurostat, shows a looming healthcare crisis in Turkey, which has the lowest doctor-to-patient ratio in Europe. With 218 doctors for every 100,000 people in 2021, Turkey sits at the bottom in Europe, emphasizing an urgent need for healthcare improvement.
Despite ranking fifth in total number of doctors, with 183,569 physicians, Turkey's large population dilutes this figure drastically, putting considerable strain on the healthcare system. On average, a Turkish citizen visits the doctor eight times a year. Countries like Germany, Italy, France, and Spain have higher total numbers, but a better doctor-to-population ratio, ensuring more accessible healthcare for their citizens.
Doctors in Turkey migrate abroad in enormous numbers as long-standing issues such as low pay, workplace violence, and heavy workloads remain unresolved, according to the Turkish Medical Association (TTB).
The mass exodus threatens to exacerbate the shortage of doctors in Turkey's understaffed hospitals. The TTB and other medical groups have called for reforms to improve working conditions and stem the exodus of doctors from the country.
President Tayyip Erdogan during his election campaign had urged Turkish doctors abroad to return to their home country. "All the necessary resources for your scientific work will be provided by our government," he had said.
However, Erdogan's previous remarks on the issue indicated a more casual attitude towards the doctors' departures. He had stated, "If they are leaving, let them. Don't you worry, there will be no vacancies here. We will employ our newly graduated doctors. We will continue our work with them."