[Oversupplied? Undersupplied? - The Perspective of Local Governments of the Federal State of Baden-Württemberg: A Contribution to the Discussion of Close-to-Home Health Care]

Gesundheitswesen. 2015 Dec;77(12):e179-83. doi: 10.1055/s-0034-1398592. Epub 2015 Mar 23.
[Article in German]


Background: The ageing of physicians working in ambulatory care make regional health planning a challenging task. This study examines the current supply of general practitioners (GP) within the communities from the perspective of mayors. The information gained on a community level can be used when discussing over- and undersupply as well as future health care planning.

Methods: A questionnaire was sent to all 1101 mayors of the Federal state of Baden-Württemberg (BW) in May 2011. For the evaluation of the location of the communities, subjective ratings by the mayors were compared with official criteria, provided by the Federal Institute for Research on Building, Urban Affairs and Spatial Development (BBSR).

Results: The participation rate was 63% (n=698). According to the mayors about 70% (n=468) were located in a rural area, according to BBSR criteria were about 26% (n=177) of answers given by rural communities. Of the participating mayors about 54% (n=355) stated that their community is cared for merely by GPs. From this information there was a locally experienced undersupply of GPs calculated for 13.5% (n=86) of the communities. This affected rural as well as non-rural communities. In communities up to 20 000 inhabitants, the ratio between GPs and other specialists seems to be 60:40 whereas in bigger cities the proportion of other specialists appears to be much higher.

Conclusion: Half of the participating communities seem to not have a practicing specialised physician. An accumulation of specialised physicians in larger cities was reported. The GP shortage appears to mainly be experienced subjectively. Regarding the location (urban vs. rural) of the community, subjective views differ distinctly from the BBSR criteria. This discrepancy could influence a community's marketing strategy when competing for new physicians.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Ambulatory Care* / statistics & numerical data
  • General Practitioners / statistics & numerical data*
  • General Practitioners / supply & distribution*
  • Germany
  • Health Services Accessibility / statistics & numerical data*
  • Needs Assessment
  • Regional Medical Programs / statistics & numerical data
  • Rural Health Services / statistics & numerical data*
  • Rural Health Services / supply & distribution*
  • State Government
  • Utilization Review
  • Workforce