Health ministry data suggests 42% (226) of GPs will retire in the next ten years
Have you ever found it was easier to get an appointment with a specialist doctor than a GP in Luxembourg? It’s almost certainly because of the registered doctors in Luxembourg, GPs make up just 30%.
Responding to a parliamentary question from DP MP André Bauler, higher education minister Claude Meisch (DP) and health minister Etienne Schneider (LSAP) wrote that the proportion was low compared to the greater region, where it varied from 37% in Wallonie, Belgium, to 48% in Lorraine, France.
Bauler’s question addressed what he described as the “open secret” that the number of GPs in Luxembourg is in decline with a ratio of 90 GPs for every 100,000 residents. While the ministers didn’t confirm or deny that there was a shortage of GPs, they shared data suggesting that 42% (226) of GPs will retire in the next ten years, a proportion which will likely place a strain if Luxembourg’s population continues to grow at a rate of 3% per year.
The government is thinking ahead--the ministers pointed out that a study is already underway examining health professions and how Luxembourg attracts them.
However, much of the government’s strategy is focused on retaining the native doctors. A new rule is in the offing to increase financial incentives for undergraduates to studying at the University of Luxembourg. Currently, students can sit their first year of studies in the grand duchy, but starting 2020-2021, they will be able to study a bachelor in medicine in Luxembourg.
Where are all the GPs?
The ministers explained that there are currently 534 general practitioners active in Luxembourg, the majority of them located in urban areas (see chart above).
Some might argue the shortage of GPs is already at a critical stage in the north of Luxembourg, in places like Vianden, Wiltz and Clervaux, which recorded just 1, 11 and 17 GPs respectively.