The number of doctors in Italy has risen by 25,000, or 4.4 per cent, compared to the figures in 2003. According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) there is now one doctor for every 165 people in Italy almost double the number ten years ago when there was one per 240 people. Of OCSE member countries, which include 30 member states worldwide from the United States to Denmark, only Greece has more doctors than Italy per inhabitant. Bologna, Genova and Rome are the provinces in Italy with the most doctors per person.

Female doctors are notably on the rise, accounting for 34 per cent of all Italian doctors in 2006. Whats more, half the number of current medicine graduates are female (9 per cent in 1964; 28 per cent in 1998; and 31 per cent in 2002).

As a result of the increasing number of doctors in the country, Italy is fast becoming one of the principal nations for exporting doctors abroad to countries such as the United Kingdom, which lacks medics.

Medical students in Italy spend an estimated 10-12 years studying and OCSE estimates that around 30 per cent of registered doctors in the ordini dei medici are in jobs that do not correspond with studies completed both academically and also in terms of salary.