Health care workforce

For many years, it was difficult to obtain comparable data about health care workforce in the Nordic countries, because of different data sources and definitions. Since 2004, NOMESCO data on health care workforce follows the definitions of the OECD System of Health Accounts (SHA), which uses the EU statistical classification of economic activities (NACE) and is linked to the national registers of authorized health care personnel. This has improved the comparability between the Nordic countries.

Definitions and method

The information on the healthcare workforce describes the employed and licensed health care professionals. 

The number of employed health personnel is measured for a given day in a year and does not reflect the number of health care professionals in full-time equivalents.

Twelve specialties are identified for the healthcare professionals, together with additional categories of non-specified healthcare occupations. Physicians are grouped into eight categories, by sector of employment, following NACE classification. Physicians are grouped into 16 different specialties (health and social services).

The group ‘qualified auxiliary nurses’ is subdivided. Those with an education of 18 months or more remain in this group, while those with shorter education are in the group ‘other health care personnel’.

‘Other health care personnel with a higher education’ includes dieticians and pharmacists.