A recent survey showed the large differences in quality between European healthcare

 

Non-European hospitals are often puzzled why there is so much difference in demand for surgical services between European countries. The reasons are complex, but much depends on the quality of the national healthcare service.

Non-European hospitals are often puzzled why there is so much difference in demand for surgical services between European countries. The reasons are complex, but much depends on the quality of the national healthcare service. If quality is good and waiting lists are short, then there is little need to search for paying private care. Only when the customer reaches the point of seeking private treatment, are they ready to start considering overseas treatment.

A recent survey goes a long way to explain why in some countries people need to consider private treatment. The Euro Health Consumer Index 2007 from healthcare information provider Health Consumer Powerhouse (www.healthpowerhouse.com)

is the third annual survey of all 27 EU countries plus Norway and Switzerland. The Index is one of the few comparing European healthcare from a consumer viewpoint.

The new Index confirms that European healthcare consists of a top group of a few very well performing nations. The best country is Austria, which runs a healthcare system combining excellent outcomes with consumer orientation. There are many medium-quality countries and a large group of poor performers. 

Generally European healthcare continues to improve, but medical outcome statistics are still poor in many countries. This is not least the case regarding the number one killer condition: cardiovascular diseases. MRSA infection in hospitals is getting worse and is a significant health threat in half the surveyed countries. More than half of European governments systematically delay the consumer access to new medicines, and not only for reasons of financial constraints.

Austria has the best healthcare system providing very good medical results, quality and excellent accessibility for consumers/patients, closely followed by The Netherlands, France, Switzerland and Germany. After the top five, the Nordic countries of Sweden, Norway, Finland and Denmark are very similar, although Sweden has poor accessibility, and Belgium .In Italy and Spain, medical results are very dependent on the consumers’ ability to afford private healthcare as a supplement to public healthcare,

The UK is good on healthcare information, but is dragged down by long waiting lists, uneven quality performance, and poor value for money, drug rationing and MRSA.

MRSA is also a problem in the USA. JAMA, The Journal of the American Medical Association (http://jama.ama-assn.org) claims that invasive MRSA infections occur in 94,000 people each year and are associated with 19,000 deaths each year, in the USA. Of these infections, 86% are healthcare-associated and 14% are community-associated. That means in the USA, you have a greater chance of contracting a MRSA infection from a visit to the hospital than anywhere else.

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