The aim of this publication is to increase awareness, as much as possible, about hospital capacity and, more generally, secondary care provision within the European countries. However, it does not seek to provide answers but rather to look at some facts in order to raise questions, stimulate debate and thus share information and knowledge.

The report offers a picture of the hospital situation for which most recent data is available compared to the situation ten years before. The considered trend mostly covers the decade 2004-2014. When data concerning the reference years is unavailable, the closest year is considered.

The source of data and figures is the World Health Organisation’s Health For All Database of the (last update: March 2018) and the EU Commission Eurostat Health Database (last update: May 2018). Information referring to the expected population trends in the upcoming decades have been taken from Eurostat – Statistics Explained (March 2018). Some figures are disputed for not being precise enough, but they at least give a good indication of the diversity.

All European Member States are considered plus Switzerland and Serbia. Whenever appropriate, two groups have been compared: EU-15, the countries that joined the EU before 2004 (Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom) and EU-13, the countries that joined the EU in 2004 and 2007 (Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia).