Short hospital stays, few smokers: the Netherlands versus the EU

Compared with other countries in Europe, in the Netherlands hospital admissions are relatively short: less than two days to have a baby and less than six days for an acute heart attack. The number of smokers in the population is also relatively small. These are just some results from the two-yearly Health at a Glance: Europe published by the OECD and the European Commission.

Less than two days in hospital for childbirth

Hospital admissions are relatively short in the Netherlands. Women are admitted for an average 1.9 days to give birth. In the European Union the average childbirth-related hospitalisation is 3.6 days. The longest hospital period for childbirth is in Slovakia: 5.1 days.
Dutch patients suffering an acute heart attack are admitted for an average 5.6 days. In Germany this is nearly twice as long: 10.3 days. The average period of hospitalisation has decreased in all countries between 2000 and 2012, however. The variation in hospitalisation periods between countries is connected with differences in the financing structure of hospital care, practical hospital guidelines and patient needs.

Average period of hospitalisation, 2012


Few smokers in the Netherlands

The Netherlands is one of the countries with the fewest smokers in relative terms: 18.4 percent of the population smoke daily. The EU average is 22.8 percent and in Greece 38.9 percent of the population (over 15 years) smoke. More men than women smoke in all countries except Sweden, the country with fewest smokers. The percentage of smokers has fallen in all countries compared with the beginning of the century. In a longer term perspective this decrease has had a downward effect on the number of deaths from lung cancer. The present relatively high lung cancer mortality in the Netherlands reflects the relatively high shares of smokers in previous decades. The Netherlands has one of the highest lung cancer mortality rates in the EU: 72.4 per 100 thousand of the population, compared with the EU average of 55.2 per 100 thousand.

Percentage of daily smokers, population aged 15 years and older, 2012


Slower increase in health care spending

Per capita health care spending rose by 2.2 percent in the Netherlands in the period 2009-2012, less than half the rate of the 5.2 percent growth between 2000 and 2009. In the European Union spending fell by an average 0.6 percent per year, following an annual growth of 4.7 percent (2000-2009).

Average increase in per capita health spending corrected for inflation