Denmark spends less on hospitals than other OECD nations

Almost all other Western countries spend more on their hospitals than Denmark, shows a new report comparing the national healthcare system to other OECD member nations.

Denmark spends 10.9 percent of its GDP on health services, which ranks it as the seventh most expensive healthcare system according to official OECD figures, but the report found that without social services like home nursing, Denmark spends only 8.3 percent on medical care.

That percentage ranks Denmark number 19 among the 34 OECD member nations, said the author of the report, Jes Søgaard, who is a professor in health economics.

"For years we have had the wrong idea of the size of the Danish health expenses," Søgaard told Politiken newspaper.

"We have made each other believe that we have one of the world's most expensive healthcare systems. But that isn't true."

Less expensive but more effective
Denmark spends 160 billion kroner each year on healthcare, but health minister Nick Hækkerup (S) said he is more concerned about where the money is being allocated than how much is being spent.

"No matter where that ranks us on any list, it's a lot of money," Hækkerup told Politiken.

"It's not a goal in itself to spend as much as we can. What's important is that we treat more patients because the healthcare system is becoming more effective."