Healthcare resource statistics - technical resources and medical technology
- Data extracted in November 2016. Most recent data: Further Eurostat information, Main tables and Database. Planned article update: January 2018.
This article presents an overview of European Union (EU) statistics related to the availability of technical facilities as well as the availability and use of medical technology. The technical facilities presented concern operating theatres and day care places, while the medical technology concerns a variety of equipment used for diagnostic imaging (for example, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) units) and treatment (for example, radiation therapy equipment).
- 1 Main statistical findings
- 2 Data sources and availability
- 3 Context
- 4 See also
- 5 Further Eurostat information
- 6 External links
Main statistical findings
Availability of technical resources in hospitals
Table 1 provides information concerning the number of day care places in hospitals for 17 of the 28 EU Member States. It should be noted that not all day care services are provided in hospitals and some may also be offered in other healthcare facilities, such as independent day-care centres or ambulatory premises, but these are not covered by the data presented here.
Relative to population size, France had the highest number of day care places among the EU Member States
Relative to population size, the number of day care places in hospitals was highest in France, with 110 places per 100 000 inhabitants in 2014. Three other EU Member States reported more than 50 day care places in hospitals per 100 000 inhabitants: Slovakia, Latvia and Croatia.
Table 1 provides further information on four specialisations for day care places in hospitals: note that the sum of the number of day care places for these specialisations may not equal the total if the specialisation of all places cannot be determined. In Germany, France and Croatia most day care places in hospitals were for psychiatric care, while in Belgium, Italy and Slovakia day care in hospitals was mainly focused on surgery (among the four specialisations shown). In Spain, around half of the day care places in hospitals were for the care of cancer patients.
For 19 EU Member States, Table 1 provides information on the number of operating theatres in hospitals. Relative to population size, in 2014 the number of operating theatres in hospitals ranged among the Member States from 5.3 per 100 000 inhabitants in Ireland to 11.8 per 100 000 inhabitants in Greece, with Austria and Cyprus below this range (3.3 per 100 000 inhabitants) and Latvia above it (13.7 per 100 000 inhabitants).
Figure 1 shows this same ratio with a comparison between 2009 and 2014. The availability of operating theatres in hospitals relative to population size decreased in Luxembourg (2010–14), Malta, the Czech Republic, Cyprus (2008–14), Austria, Slovenia (2010–14), and the United Kingdom, remained stable in Hungary (2009–12) and Italy (2009-13), and increased in seven EU Member States, most notably in Latvia.
Availability of medical technology
Eurostat collects data concerning eight types of medical technology, six of which are imaging equipment used for diagnosis, while two are for treatment. The data for imaging equipment are presented in Table 2 and Figures 2–7, while the data for treatment equipment are presented in Table 3 and Figures 8 and 9.
Widespread increase in the availability of imaging equipment over several decades
The availability of equipment for diagnosis increased rapidly in most EU Member States over recent decades. For example, in Finland the number of computed tomography (CT) scanners in 2014 was 117, compared with just 23 some 30 years earlier, while in Hungary the number increased from 3 to 78 from 1984 to 2013. In the 20 years between 1994 and 2014 the number of MRI units increased in the Czech Republic from 7 to 78, in Finland from 17 to 127 and in the Netherlands from 38 (in 1993) to 217. Over the most recent decade, between 2004 and 2014, the most notable increases were for positron emission tomography scanner units (PET) scanners, for example, their number increased in France from 15 to 108.
Relative to population size and subject to data availability (see Table 2), Greece (2013 data), Cyprus, Italy (2013 data) and Finland reported the most imaging equipment among the EU Member States in 2014; note that no data are available for Sweden and data are not available for all six types of imaging equipment in several Member States.
Denmark, Latvia, Germany, Greece (2013 data), Bulgaria, Italy (2013 data) and Cyprus reported at least 3.0 CT scanners per 100 000 inhabitants in 2014, with fewer than 1.0 per 100 000 inhabitants in the United Kingdom and Hungary (2013 data). Between 2009 and 2014, the availability of CT scanners increased by at least 1.0 units per 100 000 inhabitants in Denmark, Latvia and Portugal; only in Malta, Luxembourg, Croatia and Cyprus did this ratio fall over the period under consideration (see Figure 2), in part due to increases in the population but also due to a reduction in the absolute number of scanners in the case of Malta, Luxembourg and Croatia (between 2010 and 2014) and also a break in the series for Malta.
Germany, Italy (2013 data), Greece (2013 data), Finland, Cyprus and Austria reported at least 2.0 MRI units per 100 000 inhabitants in 2014, with fewer than 0.6 units per 100 000 inhabitants in Romania and Hungary (2013 data). Between 2009 and 2014, the largest increases in the availability of MRI units were in Finland, Lithuania, Latvia and Germany (see Figure 3 for data availability), increasing by at least 0.5 MRI units per 100 000 inhabitants. Luxembourg was the only EU Member State reporting a slight decrease for this ratio, however, this reduction is only due to increase in the population. Among the EU Member States, the highest number of gamma cameras relative to population size in 2014 was recorded in Belgium (2013 data, in hospitals only), 2.4 per 100 000 inhabitants, more than double the ratio in all of the other Member States except for Denmark (2013 data), Luxembourg and Greece (2013 data) — all between 1.4 and 1.7 per 100 000 inhabitants. About one third of Member States for which data are available (see Figure 4) reported an upturn in this ratio between 2009 and 2014, the largest increase being in Greece (between 2009 and 2013).
Finland recorded a higher number of angiography units relative to population size in 2014 than any other EU Member State, 2.0 units per 100 000 inhabitants, followed by Luxembourg (1.4 per 100 000 inhabitants) and Italy (1.3 per 100 000 inhabitants; 2013 data). The lowest ratio for angiography units was recorded by Romania (0.3 per 100 000 inhabitants). Between 2009 and 2014, the availability of angiography units increased in most Member States (for which data are available), only decreasing in four Member States.
Greece (2013 data) and Cyprus reported the most mammography units relative to population size in 2014. The lowest availability of mammography units was in the Czech Republic, Estonia, Luxembourg and Romania. The largest increase in availability between 2009 and 2014 was in Greece, while the largest decrease was in Luxembourg.
PET scanners are generally the least widely available of the six types of imaging equipment presented in this article. In absolute terms, Italy had the most PET scanners (subject to data availability — see Table 2), with 174 units in 2013. Denmark (2013 data) and Malta (2014 data) reported 0.6 and 0.5 PET scanners per 100 000 inhabitants respectively, while all of the other EU Member States for which data are available (see Figure 7) reported ratios of 0.3 per 100 000 inhabitants or fewer in 2014. Between 2009 and 2014, the availability of PET scanners increased most in Malta as the number of such scanners increased from 1 to 2, moving Malta to the second highest number relative to population size.
The final two pieces of medical technology presented in this article concern lithotriptors and radiation therapy equipment, as shown in Table 3. These two types of treatment equipment were generally less commonly available than the previously discussed imaging equipment.
Among the EU Member States, Belgium (2013 data, in hospitals only) and Bulgaria reported the highest number of lithotriptors per 100 000 inhabitants in 2014 as can be seen from Figure 8. The lowest values for this ratio were recorded in Latvia, Finland (2013 data), Slovenia and Ireland. Excluding Member States for which there was a break in series, between 2009 and 2014, the availability of lithotriptors increased by 0.2 units per 100 000 inhabitants in Cyprus and Malta and by 0.4 per 100 000 inhabitants in Belgium (between 2009 and 2013, hospitals only). Bulgaria (between 2011 and 2014), Slovenia and Lithuania were the only Member States which recorded a decrease in the number of lithotriptors per 100 000 inhabitants between 2009 and 2014.
Belgium (2013 data, in hospitals only), Denmark and Slovakia were the only EU Member States (see Figure 9 for data availability) to report more than 1.0 radiation therapy units per 100 000 inhabitants in 2014, while the lowest rates for this type of equipment were recorded in Portugal (in hospitals only), Latvia, Estonia and Romania, all with 0.4 units per 100 000 inhabitants and in Poland with less than 0.05 units per 100 000 inhabitants. More than half of the Member States reported an increase in their respective number of radiation therapy units relative to population size between 2009 and 2014, with small decreases reported for several Member States; among them the number of units decreased only in Romania, the Czech Republic and Cyprus, for the rest of the countries the ratio fell due to increases in population size.
Use of medical technology
Table 4 presents data on the use of a selection of three types of imaging equipment. For each of the three types of equipment, the largest number of scans in absolute terms in 2014 was performed in France.
The number of CT scans relative to population size increased across the EU
Relative to the size of population, by far the largest number of CT scans among the EU Member States was reported for Estonia, 59 thousand per 100 000 inhabitants in 2014, although it should be noted that a non-standard definition for CT scans is used in Estonia. For the remaining Member States (see Figure 10 for data availability) this ratio for CT scans ranged from 5.1 thousand per 100 000 inhabitants in Bulgaria to 19.4 thousand per 100 000 inhabitants in Luxembourg, with Finland and Romania below this range. Nearly all Member States for which data are available reported an increase between 2009 and 2014 in the number of CT scans relative to the size of their respective populations, with increases in excess of four thousand scans per 100 000 inhabitants in Slovakia, France, Denmark, Latvia, Poland and Estonia (the large increase noted for Estonia may result at least in part from a break in series; note there was a break in series also for Denmark and Poland). The largest decrease in the number of scans was recorded by Greece (between 2008 and 2012).
Leaving aside the data for Estonia, the most intensive use of CT scanners in 2014 (number of scans per machine) was in France and Hungary (2013 data), where an average of more than 11 thousand scans was performed per CT scanner (see Table 4). The least intensive use was in Romania, Finland and Bulgaria where less than 2.5 thousand scans were made on average per CT scanner.
Among the EU Member States, the largest number of MRI scans relative to the size of population in 2014 were made in France, Luxembourg, Belgium (2011 data), Spain and Denmark, all in excess of 7.0 thousand scans per 100 000 inhabitants (see Figure 11 for data availability). The lowest ratios were recorded for Romania, Bulgaria and Cyprus, all below 1.0 thousand per 100 000 inhabitants. Nearly all Member States for which data are available reported an increase between 2009 and 2014 in the number of MRI scans relative to the size of population; among the Member States without a break in series, increases in excess of two thousand scans per 100 000 inhabitants were reported for Slovakia, Lithuania France and Denmark. Again the largest decrease in the number of scans was recorded by Greece between 2008 and 2012.
The most intensive use of MRI scanners was in Hungary, with 11 thousand scans performed per MRI unit on average
The most intensive use of MRI units was in Hungary (2013 data), where an average of 11 thousand scans was performed per MRI unit, followed by France with an average of 9 thousand scans per unit (see Table 4). The least intensive use was in Cyprus where just 326 scans were made on average per MRI unit.
Relative to population size the most PET scans were performed in Denmark
In 2014, Denmark recorded by far the largest number of PET scans per 100 000 inhabitants of any EU Member State (see Figure 12 for data availability), an average of 691 scans per 100 000 inhabitants, while the next highest ratio was 458 per 100 000 inhabitants in the Netherlands. The use of PET scans was particularly low in Germany (hospitals only), Lithuania and Romania, where there were fewer than 50 scans per 100 000 inhabitants. Denmark also recorded a particularly large increase in the number of PET scans relative to population size, increasing by more than 350 per 100 000 inhabitants between 2009 and 2014. All Member States for which data are available reported an increase between 2009 and 2014 in their respective number of PET scans relative to the size of population.
The most intensive use of PET scanners was in the Czech Republic and Hungary (2013 data), where an average of 4.0 thousand and 3.6 thousand scans were performed per PET scanner respectively, at least double the average of all other Member States for which this ratio is available (see Table 4) with the exceptions of France (hospitals only), Poland, Austria (hospitals only), Luxembourg and Bulgaria. The least intensive use was in Lithuania, Malta (2013 data), Finland and Germany (hospitals only) where there were fewer than 350 scans on average per PET scanner.
Data sources and availability
Operating theatres (also known as operating rooms or suites) are hospital facilities for conducting surgical procedures in a sterile environment.
Day care does not involve an overnight stay. By contrast to in-patient and out-patient care, day care comprises planned medical and paramedical services delivered to patients who have been formally admitted for diagnosis, treatment or other types of health care but with the intention to discharge the patient on the same day. While day care patients are formally admitted, out-patients are not formally admitted.
Day care places in hospitals include the number of day care beds and seats in hospitals.
Four types of specialisation of day care places are presented: surgical day care places; oncological day care places; psychiatric day care places and geriatric day care places. The sum of the number of day care places for these specialisations may not equal the total if the specialisation of all places cannot be determined.
Computed tomography scanners (CT or CAT units) are machines which combine many X-ray images with the aid of a computer to generate cross-sectional views and, if needed, three-dimensional images of the internal organs and structures of the body.
Magnetic resonance imaging units (MRI units) visualise internal structures of the body using magnetic and electromagnetic fields which induce a resonance effect of hydrogen atoms from which images of the body structures can be produced.
Positron emission tomography scanner units (PET scanners) use short-lived radioactive substances for highly specialised imaging. This produces three dimensional images which are used mainly for the assessment of cancer spread in a patient’s body.
Gamma cameras (including single photon emission computed tomography, SPECT) are used for a nuclear medicine procedure in which a camera rotates around the patient to register gamma ray emissions from an isotope injected to the patient’s body. The gathered data are processed to form a cross-sectional (tomographic) image.
Digital subtraction angiography units (DSA units) combine pictures obtained before and after a contrast injection to create an accurate image of the cardiovascular system.
Mammography units include only dedicated mammography machines, in other words those designed exclusively for taking mammograms.
Lithotriptors (or shock-wave lithotripsy units; LSI units) are units that provide an extracorporeal shock wave to shatter kidney stones and gallstones.
Radiation therapy equipment includes machines providing medical treatment through the use of X-rays or radionuclides, for example linear accelerators, Cobalt-60 units, high dose and low dose rate brachytherapy units.
Healthcare resources and activities
Statistics on healthcare resources (such as technical resources and medical technology) are documented in this background article which provides information on the scope of the data, its legal basis, the methodology employed, as well as related concepts and definitions.
The data on the availability of medical technology concern equipment in hospitals and in ambulatory health care facilities. For some EU Member States, notably Belgium, Germany and Portugal, the data only cover the availability of this equipment in hospitals; for particular types of equipment this is also the case for France and Switzerland.
Data on the use of imaging equipment also concern units available in hospitals and in ambulatory health care facilities. Again, for some EU Member States (Germany, Ireland, Austria, Portugal and the United Kingdom) the data only cover hospitals, as is also the case for France for the use of PET scanners.
More detailed country specific notes on this data collection, please refer to these background information documents:
Note on tables: the symbol ':' is used to show where data are not available.
Developments in medical techniques and technologies impact on medical diagnosis and treatment. The data on medical technology presented in this article concern equipment for diagnosis or treatment. In 1895, Wilhelm Roentgen discovered X-rays and in the first decades of the 20th century these started to be common for medical diagnosis of internal organs and body structures. Since then technological advances have led to the introduction of various other diagnostic devices. In the 1950s the first gamma cameras were developed to detect tumours while ultrasound images were also developed for medical use. These were followed in the 1960s by PET scanners and in the 1970s by medical MRI equipment and CT scanners.
Within the medical field, X-rays were initially used for diagnosis, but later developed for treatment using radiation therapy equipment. This treatment is mainly employed for cancer treatment and involves the use of higher radiation doses than those used for imaging. The second type of equipment used for treatment presented in this article is a lithotriptor. These were developed at the beginning of the 1980s and use repeated acoustic shocks as a non-invasive procedure to break up kidney stones and gallstones.
One issue associated with the X-rays (and gamma rays) used in several of these types of equipment is exposure to ionising radiation, as this carries a risk of developmental problems and cancer. By contrast, MRI scans use magnetic and electromagnetic fields to interact with hydrogen atoms, rather than using X-rays, and so avoid these risks.
The European core health indicators (ECHI) shortlist includes indicators on medical technologies for MRI and CT units in the chapter on health services.
General health statistics articles
Further Eurostat information
- Health care (t_hlth_care)
- Health care (hlth_care)
- Health care resources (hlth_res)
- Health care facilities (hlth_facil)
- Technical resources in hospital (hlth_rs_tech)
- Medical technology (hlth_rs_equip)
- Health care facilities (hlth_facil)
- Health care resources (hlth_res)
Methodology / Metadata
- Healthcare resources (ESMS metadata file — hlth_res_esms)
Source data for tables and figures (MS Excel)
- European Commission — Directorate-General for Health and Food Safety — European core health indicators (ECHI)
- European Commission — Directorate-General for Health and Food Safety — Public health
- OECD — Health policies and data
- WHO Global Health Observatory (GHO) — Mortality and global health estimates
- World Health Organisation (WHO) — Health systems