Service Capacity and Access

From Ministry of Health and Welfare, ROC 2018-03-27

Basic hospital access and hospital bed density

According to MOHW statistics for 2016, Taiwan has 22,384 medical facilities comprising 490 hospitals and 21,894 clinics. The hospitals have 133,499 beds, equating to a bed density of 56.7 per 10,000 people.

Health-worker density

Taiwan’s physician density stood at 19.03 per 10,000 people in 2016, up 11 percent from 17.21 in 2011, according to MOHW statistics. Each year, around 65 percent to 75 percent of graduates from nursing departments and schools become certified professionals. Of these, 90 percent go on to work in nursing related fields. In a given five-year period, an average of 10 percent of nurses aged 20-40 leave the profession. Only 60 percent of certified nurses currently work in the field. The government is pursuing reforms to encourage nurses to remain in the profession. Efforts implemented to date comprise: (1) inclusion of nurse-patient ratios in hospital evaluations since 2015; (2) an additional monthly bonus from the NHI to hospitals that achieve designated nurse-patient ratios; (3) publishing the nurse-patient ratios of all hospitals on a monthly basis since July 2016; (4) annual increases in nurses’ salaries; (5) raising the nurse density from 60.48 per 10,000 people in 2012 to 69.40 per 10,000 people by November 2016.In addition, the government is working to boost the number of community health care facilities so as to provide additional career options for nurses.

Access to essential medicines

The NHI covers over 16,000 essential drugs and medications for rare diseases. As of June 2016, a total of 5,992 pharmacies nationwide were contracted under the system, ensuring convenient public access to medications. The pharmacies also provide patient education services, including advice on when and how to take prescribed drugs.

To ensure an equitable distribution of medical resources and further strengthen safety standards, the NHI Administration under the MOHW has enacted reforms in areas like monitoring and control of medication quality. Related measures include regular drug pricing investigations and the establishment of a cloud-based system enabling physicians to access patients’ medication records.

Health security: compliance with the International Health Regulations

An International Health Regulations national focal point was launched as the designated contact window with WHO headquarters after Taiwan was incorporated into the operation mechanism of IHR (2005) in 2009. This contact window is charged with reporting major public health events to the WHO, receiving such information from other countries through the IHR Event Information Site and facilitating cross-border communication and referral for cases of major infectious diseases. The government also established IHR core capacities at seven international airports and ports (responsible for 95 percent of the country’s visitor traffic and cargo throughput) and continues to promote local capabilities in responding to emergent public health security incidents.

Based on WHO guidelines, in 2016 the government contracted U.S. experts and adopted the IHR 2005: Joint External Evaluation Tool to conduct an external evaluation of the country’s emergency response capabilities in addressing public health threats. Among the 48 indicators, Taiwan was found to possess developed or sustainable capacities in 42. Taiwan is the eighth country in the world to have completed such an assessment.