The number of physicians practicing in each country of the EU varies based on the population density, the size of the country and the need for that skilled workforce. Germany employs the largest number of practicing physicians in Europe, which is a reflection of its population density and need for medical professionals. On the other hand, Luxembourg (the least populated country in the EU) employed the least number of physicians.
A physician is defined as a doctor who is qualified and registered to practice human medicine. In Europe, a physician must have a university qualification allowing them to practice medicine and must have completed the required period of training. Once an individual is qualified to practice they may choose a specific field of medicine to work in. An example specialty is a general practitioner (GP) who is involved in both acute and chronic care. They are normally the first point of contact before hospital care, if required. Other fields of medicine open to physicians include psychiatry, obstetrics and gynaecology, paediatrics and dentistry, which may involve another route of entry.
Of course, it is not only practitioners that make up the health service, there are many other medical professionals involved in the care and rehabilitation of patients. The UK had the highest number of practicing care personnel, with over one million employed in 2016. Care personnel may include social workers, physiotherapists, pharmacists and nurses.