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Human resources in health care - state and trends

Ivelina Borisova, Mihaela Stefanova, Stefka Koeva, Elka Atanasova


Introduction: Human resources are a very important factor for the development of health care. Labour in health care is carried out by people with different occupations and qualifications who perform medical and non-medical activities. However, the imbalance between different types of specialists and their territorial distribution creates a number of difficulties. The aim of the study is to analyse the latest health workforce trends in Bulgaria in a comparative perspective.

Materials and methods: The study is based on official reports, analyses, and statistical data by the WHO, European observatory, Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the European Union and Bulgarian sources.

Results: The results show the increase in availability of physicians and dentists in Bulgaria between 2000 and 2015. In 2014, the number of physicians and dentists were much higher than the average for the EU 13 and the Region. Although the proportion of physicians is high, only 16.6% of all physicians are general practitioners in 2015, which is much lower than the EU average of 30%. Additionally, in 2015, Bulgaria is one of two countries (together with Cyprus) with the highest densities of practising dentists in the EU. The number of nurses per 1000 population (4.9) is considerably lower than the EU13 average (6.1), EU15 average (9.4) and EU27 average (8.7). Despite a decrease in the number of midwives in the country, their availability is still greater than the average for both the Region and the EU 13.

Conclusion: Despite the good availability of doctors in general, the tendency is the reduction in the number of doctors in some specialties. The low availability of health professionals and the unfavourable proportion of nurses and doctors will create even more serious difficulties in providing the necessary health care to the population in the future.


human resources, healthcare



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