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By Fiona Moore, for ExpatBriefing.com
29 January, 2015
An independent report on healthcare in 36 European countries has said that consumer and patient rights are improving in Europe, but there is a widening performance gap between wealthy and poor European countries' health facilities.
The findings appear in The 2014 Euro Health Consumer Index, which was launched by Health Consumer Powerhouse on January 27, with the European Union Health Commissioner, Vytenas Andriukaitis, in attendance. The index used a range of data sources to rank countries according to several factors: patient rights and information disclosure; waiting times; outcomes; the range of services offered; illness prevention; and access to pharmaceuticals.
The countries were ranked on a scale of 1 to 1000. Nine countries – all in Western Europe – scored above 800, with the Netherlands taking the top spot, followed by Norway, Finland, Denmark, Belgium, Iceland, Luxembourg, and Germany. The report identified that the preference for small general hospitals over specialist institutions adversely affected treatment quality in Germany.
The report also found medical excellence in Spain and Italy, although with large regional variations. Southern Europe as a whole was said to be too dependent on consumers' ability to afford private healthcare to supplement public healthcare. Some Eastern European EU members were described as "doing surprisingly well," with the Czech Republic and Estonia in particular noted as improving, despite small healthcare spends.
England was ranked in 14th place and Scotland in 16th, with waiting times identified as a persistent issue despite improvements. Instances of hospital epidemics, which had been caused by resistant "superbugs," have declined significantly in the UK.
The report said that treatment outcomes in Europe are continuing to improve. The report added that many European countries have now legislated to protect patient rights, and patient access to medical records is becoming standard. However, new pharmaceuticals remain subject to delays and restrictions.
Tags: Western Europe | Belgium | Denmark | Iceland | Netherlands | Public Health | Estonia | Luxembourg | Norway | Health Care | Finland | Germany | Italy | Spain | Services | Expats | Welfare | Europe | Scotland
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