Number of family nurses has steadily increased over last 5 years ({{contentCtrl.commentsTotal}})

Nurses working at a hospital. Photo is illustrative.
Nurses working at a hospital. Photo is illustrative. Source: ERR

There are approximately 1,400 family nurses in Estonia and their number has grown steadily over the past five years, it appears from fresh data available from the National Institute for Health Development (Tervise Arengu Instituut/ TAI).

As of last year, there were a total of 24,740 health care workers in Estonia and the number has increased by an average of 2 percent per year since 2013. In 2019, there were 3.5 doctors and 6.2 nurses per 1,000 residents in Estonia, that is an average of 1.8 nurses per doctor.

Katrin Tomson, analyst at TAI's department of health statistics, said: "With these indicators, we are among the average in terms of doctors and among the countries with significantly fewer nurses than average compared to other European countries."

The number of physicians in 2019 was 4,603 and their numbers rose by an average of 0.6 percent a year over the last five years. The average age of physicians - 51 years - has remained unchanged during this period.

There were 933 family doctors in Estonia last year. On average, there was one family doctor per 1,425 residents. The average age of family doctors was 55.5 years and it has increased by an average of three months per year over the last five years.

Altogether 23 percent of family doctors were 65 years old or older. The share of retirement-age family doctors as well as physicians has increased constantly over the last five years, by an average of 1.7 percent per year for family doctors and 0.7 percent per year for physicians.

Family nurses numbered 1,393 in Estonia last year, marking an average increase of 5.4 percent per year over the last five years. On average, there were 1.5 family nurses per one family doctor.

Altogether 51.3 percent of physicians were working with a full workload, 28.4 percent had a smaller workload. Approximately two thirds of nurses had a full workload, while 23.5 percent had a smaller workload than that. The number of physicians and nurses with a full workload has steadily decreased in the last five years and the number of physicians and nurses working with a smaller workload has increased. The share of those working with a greater workload has remained unchanged.

Last year, there were 280 anesthesia and intensive care doctors, 221 emergency medicine doctors, 58 infectious disease doctors and 41 infection control nurses in Estonia.

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Editor: Helen Wright

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