Service Capacity and Access

From Ministry of Health and Welfare, ROC 2020-03-27

Basic hospital access and hospital bed density

According to MOHW statistics for 2018, Taiwan has 22,816 medical facilities comprising 483 hospitals and 22,333 clinics. The hospitals have 167,521 beds, equating to a bed density of 57.4 per 10,000 people.

Nursing Workforce

Each year, around 65 percent to 75 percent of Taiwan 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) inclusion of nurse-patient ratio as part of establishment standards for hospitals in 2019; (5) establishing reporting system for workplace conflicts in health facilities in 2018. (6) raising the density of nurses from 60.48 per 10,000 people in 2012 to 74.16per 10,000 people by 2019.

In addition, Taiwan’s healthcare system is mainly formed by hospitals, and up to 80 percent of nursing personnel work in hospitals. Given the inadequate nursing workforce for community healthcare, the government launched an action plan in 2017 to increase the amount of facilities offering home care services around neighborhoods, to improve the nursing practice rate and universal health coverage through offering a flexible nursing personnel practice, which includes community-shared economic strategies, accreditation system for home nursing care, advising on the establishment of home nursing agencies, transitional community education training, nursing mobile information support, and community-based nursing care systems.

Access to essential medicines

The NHI covers over 16,000 essential drugs and medications for rare diseases. As of December 2019, a total of 6,516 pharmacies nationwide were contracted under the system, and 24,825 drug licenses were issued. Taiwan Food and Drug Administration has also unveiled an essential medicine list, which comprises 294 items requiring pharmaceutical firms to report to the government if unable to continue supplying the listed medicines. An evaluation and reporting system for the shortage of listed essential medicines was also established to ensure public access to medications. Moreover, pharmacists in community pharmacy are also requested to provide patients education services to ensure safe medication use.