South Korea had 2.2 doctors per every 1,000 people in 2014, the lowest among members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, data showed Friday.
According to the OECD data submitted by the Ministry of Health and Welfare to the National Assembly, South Korea scored the lowest in physician density, along with Mexico, among 28 member states in 2014, far below the OECD average of 3.3. The data included licensed physicians practicing oriental medicine.
Austria ranked top with 5.1 doctors per 1,000 people, followed by Norway with 4.4, and Germany, Sweden and Switzerland with 4.1, the data showed.
"South Korea's number of doctors per 1,000 population is 2.2, which is lower than the OECD average," said Rep Nam In-soon of the main opposition Minjoo Party of Korea, noting that an average of between 120 and 150 doctors should be further expanded annually.
South Korea has experienced a substantial expansion of its medical workforce recently, driven mainly by the rise in the number of medical graduates. However, the country lacks between 1,100 and 2,200 doctors across the country.
The ministry said South Korea had 1.89 doctors, excluding oriental physicians, per 1,000 population as of June.
The capital city of Seoul had the most doctors with 2.82 per 1,000 people, followed by the southern city of Gwangju with 2.34, the ministry said. Sejong had the lowest number of doctors with 0.76 per 1,000 people. (Yonhap)