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Revista médica de Chile

Print version ISSN 0034-9887


ROMAN A, Oscar; ACUNA F, Miguel  and  SENORET S, Miriam. Availability of physicians in Chile at the year 2004. Rev. méd. Chile [online]. 2006, vol.134, n.8, pp.1057-1064. ISSN 0034-9887.

Background: The number of physicians available in a given country, their efficiency, quality and specialization is of utmost epidemiological importance. Aim: To evaluate the availability of physicians in Chile. Material and methods: The information about the number of physicians in Chile up to the year 2004, was obtained from the Ministry of Health, national universities and the register of immigrant physicians since 1950. Results: The total number of physicians licensed to practice was 25,542, of whom 2,700 are immigrants. The physician/inhabitant ratio increased from 1/921 in 1998 to 1/612 in 2004. The greater impact in the increment of available physicians was given by the immigration of professionals and by the increase in the number of physicians graduated from national universities, mainly from the new private universities. Forty two percent of physicians work at public services and 61% of these are certified specialists. The regional distribution of general practitioners and basic specialists is adequate. Along the country, the mean physician/beneficiary ratio is 8.45/10,000, the specialist/beneficiary ratio is 4.9/10,000 and the general practitioner/beneficiary ratio is 2.3/10,000. Conclusions: The national information of available physicians, especially in the private sector, should be improved. Immigration of physicians should be regulated, maintaining validation examinations and a National Medical Test to assess medical proficiency should be instituted (Rev Méd Chile 2006; 134: 1057-64).

Keywords : Education, medical; Foreign medical graduates; Physicians; Physicians, family.

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