growth care expenditure at lowest level in 15 years

14/05/2014 15:00
  • Last year, spending on care totalled 94.2 billion euros, 1.6 percent up from 2012
  • Hospital care expenditure up by nearly 5 percent
  • Spending on care for elderly and disabled people grows marginally
  • Less spent on medicines and childcare

Last year, total spending on care rose by 1.6 percent, i.e. less than in prior years. This is partly due to the fact that the growth in medicine consumption slowed down and the average price level of medicines fell further. Rates and compensations for health care and welfare services also declined, in particular for care and nursing services. According to the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS), overall expenditure on health care and welfare was in excess of 94.2 billion euros.

Spending on hospital care rose most rapidly

Spending on hospitals and medical specialist practices, which account for more than a quarter of total care spending, increased by 4.9 percent in 2013. One of the reasons for the increase is that since 2013, hospitals have taken up the supply of a category of expensive medicines (oncolytics and growth hormones, with an approximate value of 200 million euros).

Marginal growth spending on care for elderly and disabled persons

Spending on care for elderly and disabled persons grew by 2.4 and 0.7 percent respectively in 2013 relative to 2012. These percentages are below the level recorded in prior years. Regulations have become stricter: rates were lowered, the room for expenditure growth is limited and the compensation for transport costs was lowered. Together, care for elderly and disabled persons account for 29 percent of total care expenditure.

Spending on medicines and childcare down

Medicine sales through dispensing pharmacies and chemist shops were nearly 5 percent down, not only because hospitals have taken up the supply of a category of expensive medicines, but also because the consumption of medicines grew less rapidly. The average price level of medicines also declined further.
Spending on childcare decreased further. The number of children using childcare facilities declined and the number of hours in childcare per child was also reduced  further as parents and guardians received lower childcare allowances.

Ratio care expenditure to GDP marginally up

The ratio of care expenditure to the gross domestic product (GDP) rose marginally from 15.5 percent in 2012 to 15.6 percent in 2013. Per capita expenditure was 5,608 euros in 2013, versus 5,537 euros in 2012.