Despite having fewer doctors per capita than the OECD average, Israel scores high on the organization’s measures for life span and population growth, an OECD report on the health status of 35 member countries shows. The average Israeli male lives 80.7 years, compared to 78.1 for the OECD average, while Israeli women live an average of 84.2 years, compared to 83.4 for the rest of the OECD countries. The average life span for all Israelis is 82.5, also higher than the OECD average.
The longer life span comes despite a higher than average rate of smoking in Israel. According to the OECD, 19.6 percent of Israelis smoke regularly. Israel ranked fifth in the number of smokers, after Turkey, Chile, Estonia and Italy.
Despite the longer life span, Israelis have less access to doctors. On average, there are in OECD countries 3.3 doctors per thousand population; in Israel that number is 3.1 per thousand. For nurses, the number was far worse – 9.3 per thousand on average in the OECD, compared to 5 per thousand in Israel. In addition, there were only three hospital beds per thousand in Israel, compared to 4.7 in the other OECD countries – with hospital bed occupancy rates 93.8 percent here, compared to 75.5 percent elsewhere. Fewer Israelis (6.8 per thousand vs. 12.1 in the OECD) study to enter the medical profession, as well. And, the report showed, there are fewer MRI and CT machines per thousand in Israel than in the rest of the OECD.
Commenting on the report, Deputy Health Minister Rabbi Yaakov Litzman said that “the OECD report once again shows that Israelis’ life span is among the highest in the world. Many of our statistics have improved in this report, and we see the effects of increased investment in the public health system, I am certain than in the coming years we will continue to see improvements,” he added.