The Supply of Physician Services in OECD Countries

A number of countries are now raising their intake to medical schools. It seems likely that shortages of physicians could worsen in some countries over the next two decades, as a result of rising demand for, and falling supply of, physicians. The countermeasures may involve recruiting into medicine a higher proportion of young people, to require raising the relative pay of physicians and/or improving their conditions of service. There is good evidence that activity-related methods of payment will raise the activity rates of physicians, but this is also likely to raise costs and little is known about the effect that raised activity has on quality of care. There is a variety of additional policy instruments to influence the supply of physicians including education and training policies, migration policies and policies affecting retention and retirement.

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