Health system at “tipping point”? The proportion of selected doctors has increased significantly since 2017 – Health –


Health Minister Johannes Rauch.
©APA; Go ahead

The proportion of selected doctors increased between 2017 and 2023 – except in some areas – sometimes significantly.

The increase was particularly noticeable among dermatologists: the proportion of physicians selected there grew from 58 percent to 71 percent. This emerges from Health Minister Johannes Rauch’s (Greens) answer to the SPÖ question. SPÖ club leader Philip Kucher warned of a “tipping point” in the health system.

The number of statutory health insurance dermatologists in Austria was 312 in 2017 and will decrease to 233 in 2023. On the other hand, the number of selected doctors increased from 434 to 570. Among the specialties surveyed, notable was the increase in the number of elective physician practices—the proportion among urologists as well, from 55 to 62 percent.

In ophthalmology, the proportion of elective physician practices rose from 52 percent to 57 percent, and in the case of surgeons, from 83 to 87 percent. There was also an increase among orthopedists: from 74 to 76 percent.

The proportion of psychiatrists choosing physicians remained the same (86 percent). Only among child psychiatrists did the rate drop from 83 to 75 percent.

According to this query response, there is only one ophthalmologist for every 23,981 people, and one surgeon for every 80,000 people. For dermatologists the ratio is 1 to 36,634 and for psychiatrists it is 1 to 59,172. 35,842 residents per orthopedic surgeon.

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Claims for reimbursement for selected medical bills are increasing rapidly

The number of refund requests for selected doctor bills has risen sharply. Between 2017 and 2023, there will be a 55 percent increase in ophthalmology, a 75 percent increase in dermatologists, and a 182 percent increase in child psychiatrists. The increase in costs submitted by patients is even more noticeable: in 2023, these were 101 percent higher than in 2017, 114 percent for dermatologists and 165 percent for child psychiatrists.

SPÖ warns: Health system at ‘tipping point’

For the SPÖ, these figures demonstrate that the healthcare system is “at a tipping point” and that two-tiered medicine has reached dramatic proportions. “Our healthcare system is getting worse instead of better. The next election will be a one-way decision,” SPÖ club president Kucher told APA in a written statement. “If the SPÖ takes over the government, we will strengthen the public health system again. Otherwise, it is in danger of finally collapsing.”

“Patient billion” and expansion of medical study places

So the SPÖ once again called for the “patient billion” promised by the black-blue government, an overall contract for doctors, expanding the range of services and harmonization. To combat the shortage of doctors in the medium term, the SPÖ reiterated the need to double the number of medical study places, including prioritizing those who agree to stay in the public health system for a certain period of time. A well-known requirement. A “true care attack” is required.

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