Every year in September, the Belgian dutch public news agency (VRT) does a piece about the evolution of the need for extra GPs in Flanders. This need is analyzed by number of "priority zones", which are defined as zones with less 90 GPs per 100,000 people or per 120,000 people in rural areas. This time the evolution can be summarized as "not good, but acceptable considering we had a few horrendous years".

However, the quote that struck out to me is

"Niet dat er reden tot paniek is of was, want Vlaanderen heeft nog altijd de de grootste concentratie aan huisartsen ter wereld, maar het nijpt wel degelijk op sommige plekken."

Which translates to

"Not that there is or was any reason for panic, because Flanders still has the highest density of GPs of the whole world, but it's becoming a close call in certain areas."

The quote is by Dr. Eva Verberckmoes, from the UGent (University of Ghent). No sources were referenced in the VRT article.

Does Flanders have the highest density of General Practitioners globally?

1 Answer 1


It looks like at least France has a higher density.

Number of GPs

According to this article, published in June 2014 on the website of Domus Medica, a Belgian organisation for GPs:

Van de erkende huisartsen hebben er 15.072 hun woonplaats in België.
Iets meer dan de helft van de huisartsen woont in Vlaanderen (55,3%)


From the [group of 15,970] registered GPs, 15.072 are living in Belgium.
Just over half of the GPs (55.3%) live in Flanders.

55.3% of 15,970 is 8831.

According to "Number of general practitioners practising in Europe in 2015, by country" from Statista, there were 102,299 GPs in France. Note that the figure for Belgium, 12,693, is a lot lower than the 15,970 figure from Domus Medica, probably because they counted pensioned GPs as well.


According to Wikipedia, the population count for Flanders on January 1st, 2015 is 6,444,127. For France, it's about 64,300,000.

Number of people per GP

Combining these figures, we get a number of people per GP for Belgium of 730, and for France of 629. So France has a higher density.

  • You're assuming that "density" means GPs per 1000 people, rather than GPs per square kilometre. Without further detail it's impossible to be sure if that's what Dr. Eva Verberckmoes meant.
    – AndyT
    Sep 19, 2018 at 10:37
  • @AndyT I had the same intuition, but the numbers in the article are per population --- and they always have been. So it is safe to go with 'per capita'; per sq km we'd expect Singapore or so to win... Also note that "just over half" living in flanders means per capita in Wallonia number will be higher. I remember in the 90s "Belgium has the highest per capita GP numbers" was a generally accepted 'fact'. Nov 24, 2019 at 11:53
  • Actually, given that Wallonia and France have sizeable rural populations where Flanders hasn't: Belgian and French GPs spend a large proportion of their time on home visits --- an ancient (2001) paper suggests over 90% of GPs do, tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.3109/13814780109094331 . So rural practices must higher per capita GP numbers. Nov 24, 2019 at 12:01

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