OECD Regions at a Glance 2007

image of OECD Regions at a Glance 2007
Just 10% of regions accounted for more than half of total employment creation in most OECD countries between 1998 and 2003. This means that national growth tends to be driven by the dynamism of a small number of regions. Policy makers need sound statistical information on the source of regional competitiveness, but such information is not always available. Sub-national data are limited and regional indicators are difficult to compare between countries. OECD Regions at a Glance aims to fill this gap by analysing and comparing major territorial patterns and regional trends across OECD countries. It assesses the impact of regions on national growth. It identifies unused resources that can be mobilised to improve regional competitiveness. And it tackles more intangible factors that can make the difference: it shows how regions compete in terms of well-being (access to higher education, health services, safety etc.). Regions at a Glance presents over 30 indicators in a reader-friendly format. Each indicator is illustrated by graphs and maps. A dynamic link (StatLink) is provided for each graph and map, which directs the user to a web page where the corresponding data are available in Excel®.

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Health resources: number of physicians

Density of physicians is frequently used as an indicator of health-care provision. An adequate number of qualified practising physicians, located according to need, helps to ensure the delivery of safe, high-quality medical services. However, it is hard to estimate the minimum number of physicians required to guarantee adequate provision. As well as the number of physicians, the hours they work and the presence of complementary and substitute health professionals (nurses, for instance) also determine actual levels of provision. However, the density of physicians is seldom expressed in full-time equivalents. Furthermore, the density indicator does not specify whether the physicians actually practise, nor does it reflect features specific to the region. The mix of private/hospital practice may carry a risk of double counting, depending on how the data are collected (e.g. by professional organisations). Another area not covered by the indicator is cross-border health-care provision.

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