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J Korean Neurosurg Soc. 2018 Jan;61(1):105-113. doi: 10.3340/jkns.2017.0303.006. Epub 2017 Dec 29.

Geographic Analysis of Neurosurgery Workforce in Korea.

Author information

1
Departments of Neurosurgery, Urology, Soonchunhyang University Hospital Seoul, Seoul, Korea.
2
Departments of Neurosurgery, Soonchunhyang University Hospital Seoul, Seoul, Korea.
3
Department of Neurosurgery, Soonchunhyang University Hospital Gumi, Gumi, Korea.

Abstract

Objective:

In respect of the health and safety of the public, universal access to health care is an issue of the greatest importance. The geographic distribution of doctors is one of the important factors contributing to access to health care. The aim of this study is to assess the imbalances in the geographic distribution of neurosurgeons across Korea.

Methods:

Population data was obtained from the National Statistical Office. We classified geographic groups into 7 metropolitan cities, 78 non-metropolitan cities, and 77 rural areas. The number of doctors and neurosurgeons per 100000 populations in each county unit was calculated using the total number of doctors and neurosurgeons at the country level from 2009 to 2015. The density levels of neurosurgeon and doctor were calculated and depicted in maps.

Results:

Between 2009 and 2015, the number of neurosurgeons increased from 2002 to 2557, and the ratio of neurosurgeons per 100000 populations increased from 4.02 to 4.96. The number of neurosurgeons per 100000 populations was highest in metropolitan cities and lowest in rural areas from 2009 to 2015. A comparison of the geographic distribution of neurosurgeons in 2009 and 2015 showed an increase in the regional gap. The neurosurgeon density was affected by country unit characteristics (p=0.000).

Conclusion:

Distribution of neurosurgeons throughout Korea is uneven. Neurosurgeons are being increasingly concentrated in a limited number of metropolitan cities. This phenomenon will need to be accounted when planning for a supply of neurosurgeons, allocation of resources and manpower, and the provision of regional neurosurgical services.

KEYWORDS:

Geographic mapping; Health manpower; Hospital distribution systems; Neurosurgeons

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