Best healthcare systems in Europe and the world

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The best hospitals in Europe are, generally, in Sweden, Denmark, Germany, France and Switzerland; whereas globally, the US takes 10 places in the top 25 and 46 out of the 250 hospitals listed all together. Besides, salaries for doctors and medical personnel generally reflect the “best work done”.  

Access to good healthcare is not only a basic human right; it constitutes the main direction in any national growth pattern and socio-economic development. During last five years, the Newsweek, in partnership with data firm Statista, has ranked the best hospitals in the world. The Newsweek’s data includes analysis of 2,300 hospitals across 28 countries, and listed the top 250. The countries were chosen based on certain factors including the standard of living, life expectancy, population, number of hospitals, and availability of data. Over 80,000 medical experts took part in an online survey, and patient feedback was also taken into account.
Additionally, the results include some hygiene’s “quality metrics”; according to Newsweek, “the world’s best hospitals consistently attract the best people and provide the best outcomes for patients as well as the most important new therapies and research”.

Best in Europe…
Ten best hospitals in Europe are situated in Sweden, Denmark, Germany, France and Switzerland, including:
= two hospitals in Nordic countries: Karolinska Universitetssjukhuset in Sweden (the best in the world) and Aarhus Universitetshospital in Denmark (the tenth in the rating).
= Three hospitals in Germany: Universitätsmedizin in Berlin (one of the biggest university hospitals in Europe; it produced over half of the country’s Nobel Prize winners for medicine and physiology, and is one of the biggest employers in Germany’s capital), Universitätsklinikum in Heidelberg and Klinikum rechts der Isar der Technischen Universität in Munich.
= Two hospitals in France (both in Paris): AP-HP – Hôpital Universitaire Pitié Salpêtrière and AP-HP – Hôpital Européen Georges Pompidou.
= Three hospitals in Switzerland: Universitätsspital in Zürich, Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Vaudois in Lausanne and Universitätsspital in Basel.
Among next ten best are hospitals in Italy and Austria, Norway, Finland and the UK; among best 25 are also hospitals in Belgium, Spain, Holland and Finland.
Overall, the European countries with the most high-ranking hospitals were Germany, Switzerland, and France, concludes Sarah Palmer in Euronews (7 March, 2023) in:

As to the global ranking, the top four are dominated by the hospitals and clinics in the US, such as in Rochester, Cleveland, Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, the John Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore); as well as in Canada and Singapore. Overall, concludes Euronews, the US takes 10 places in the top 25 and 46 out of the 250 hospitals listed all together.

Best pay for best work…
Health personnel around the world remain largely unhappy about their salaries and working conditions, noted the Euronews this January: this includes both specialists and general practitioners (GPs). In 2022, doctors marched in protest, warned of the possibility of strikes, or went on strike in several European countries such as France, Germany, Spain, Portugal, Greece, Denmark and Turkey asking for increased pay and complained about the lack of staff in the hospitals.
However, in most European countries, during 2010-20 the annual gross salaries of doctors increased in real terms, according to OECD statistics; however, salaries fell in some countries in real terms in the last decade.
The OECD dataset includes information for 25 European countries, and doctors’ salaries vary greatly among them. For example, in 2020 (the latest year with available data) the annual gross salaries of specialists ranged from €20,200 in Poland to €258,552 in Luxembourg (2015 data). In other words, the difference between doctors paid the most and doctors paid the least is more than tenfold; e.g. in Estonia, salaries are twice the ones in Lithuania, Poland and Latvia.

Salaries for specialists were markedly lower than €100,000 in France, Italy, and Spain. In some other EU (e.g. Portugal and Greece) they earn less than €50,000; these figures reflect annual gross remuneration for salaried specialists, and GPs are paid less than specialists.
For example, specialists in the UK, on average, earn 85 per cent more and the average annual gross salary for GPs was €73,408 while specialists received €136,375. In 2020, the difference was 45 per cent in the Netherlands, whereas in Germany, the difference between specialists and GPs was at about 20 per cent.
Increases among both specialists (6.4 per cent) and GPs (4.8 per cent) were particularly strong in Hungary; the highest rise for specialists was registered also in Slovakia, Czechia, and Estonia, with Germany and France having slight increases in both categories. In some countries, such as Portugal, Slovenia, and the UK, the salaries of both specialists and GPs decreased in real terms during last decade; in the UK, the decline was 1.2 per cent for specialists and 0.8 per cent for GPs.
The Euronews acknowledges that the ratio of doctors’ salaries to average wages in each county is another useful indicator. The average wage is based on the total wages paid and the average number of employees in the country’s overall economy. The salaries of doctors – both specialists and GPs – are substantially higher than the average national wage in all countries analyzed by OECD: in most countries, GPs earned two to four times more than the average wage in 2020, while specialists received two to three and a half times more.


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