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This country profile was prepared to inform several OECD projects related to pharmaceutical policies and was updated in June 2018.
The Country Health Profiles are an important step in the European Commission’s two-year State of Health in the EU cycle and are the result of joint work between the OECD and the European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies. The concise, policy relevant profiles are based on a transparent, consistent methodology, using both quantitative and qualitative data, yet flexibly adapted to the context of each EU Member State.
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Germany is the EU country that spends the most on health, allocating 11.1% of its GDP to health expenditure in 2015. Recent health spending trends closely follow economic growth, with an annual increase of around 2%.
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The German health system is characterised by high levels of human and physical resources guaranteeing good access to care with a low direct financial burden for patients. Nevertheless, the changing demographic situation with a rapidly ageing society creating new demand for health services will pose a challenge for Germany’s health system.
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There are 37 faculties of medicine in Germany offering medical education, including a private university. Admission to medical studies remains highly competitive. In 2011, 37,400 students applied but only 9,432 students were admitted (roughly one out of four).
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In Germany, there are two main categories of nurses, first level and second level. A majority of first level nurses are trained through a 3-year vocational training programme involving hospital-based training, and these nurses can go on to pursue further education and training to specialise within the hospital setting.
Specific country notes have been prepared using data from the database OECD Health Statistics 2015, July 2015 version. The notes are available in PDF format.
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Progress has been made to reduce smoking rates and alcohol consumption in Germany, but obesity is on the rise as in most other EU countries. As in other EU countries, spending for prevention in Germany accounts only for around 3% of current health spending.
The global economic crisis has had a profound impact on people’s well-being, reaching far beyond the loss of jobs and income, and affecting citizens’ satisfaction with their lives and their trust in governments, according to a new OECD report.