The State of Health in the EU’s Country Health Profiles provide a concise and policy-relevant overview of health and health systems in the EU/European Economic area, emphasizing the particular characteristics and challenges in each country. The 2021 edition has a special focus on the impact and responses of European health systems to the COVID-19 pandemic.
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This country profile was prepared to inform several OECD projects related to pharmaceutical policies and was updated in June 2018.
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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.