The aim of this publication is to increase awareness about hospital capacity and, more generally, about secondary care provision, at the largest possible extent within the European countries. Yet, it does not want to provide answers, but look at some facts which can rather generate questions, stimulate debate, and foster the exchange of information and knowledge sharing.

The report offers a picture of the hospital situation for which most recent data are available compared to the situation ten years before.

The source of data and figures is the Health For All Database of the World Health Organisation (WHO/Europe, European HFA-DB, January 2013) unless otherwise specified; while data referring to the expected trends of population in the upcoming decades have been taken from “Europe in figures-EUROSTAT yearbook”. 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. Whenever appropriate two groups have been compared: EU15, the countries that joined the EU before 2004 (Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and United Kingdom) and EU12, the countries that joined the EU in 2004 and 2007 (Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia).