OECD says progress made in Lithuanian health system

 

Lithuania should focus reform efforts on improving quality and efficiency of health services says a new report by the OECD.

OECD Reviews of Health Systems: Lithuania 2018 says that although health spending, at 6.5% of GDP, is low, the system provides broadly adequate access to care. A well-run health insurance fund covers virtually the entire population and admission rates and physician visits are well above OECD averages.

Lithuania’s reforms over the past 30 years have created a modern, financially sustainable health system. The focus now must be on improving quality and efficiency. Additional resources should be directed to where they will have the most impact on health outcomes.

Life expectancy is rising slowly, but remains almost six years below the OECD average, with a larger gender gap than in any other OECD country. Women live nearly 11 years longer than men.

Chronic conditions account for the majority of deaths, and excess mortality due to cardio-vascular diseases and suicide are more than double the OECD average.

The health system remains too centred on hospitals, according to the report. Lithuania is still one of the countries with the highest number of beds and hospitalisations per capita in the OECD, and the bed occupancy ratio is below the OECD average in 85% of hospitals. Further restructuring of hospitals is recommended to ensure complex services are delivered more safely in fewer facilities, which would improve quality and efficiency.

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