Health system gets low score

Greece fell five positions in a Europe-wide survey of national health systems after scoring poorly across the board on measures such as patient rights and waiting times. Health Consumer Powerhouse, a Swedish private initiative providing consumer health information, released yesterday its third annual Euro Health Consumer Index, which examines healthcare systems from a patient’s point of view. Data were taken from all 27 European Union countries, plus Norway and Switzerland, which are the two biggest spenders on healthcare, according to Health Consumer Powerhouse. Indicators were based on performance, patient perspective and legislation, not national wealth. «Greece and Italy have systems where doctors play God,» said Health Consumer Powerhouse project manager Arne Bjornberg. «That doesn’t give you a very consumer friendly healthcare.» Greece fell to position number 22 from 17th in previous surveys, scoring 561 points out of a possible 1,000. Greece’s healthcare system is now ranked at the bottom end of the table, along with countries such as Slovenia and Hungary, Health Consumer Powerhouse said. A «poor» rating was handed to Greece for same-day access to a family doctor and kidney transplant operations while direct access to specialist category earned the country a «good» score. Greece could improve on organ donations by adopting a «presumed donor» law as in Italy which could support an active transplantation policy, according to the report. «Real excellence in Southern European healthcare seems to be somewhat overly linked to the ability of consumers to afford private healthcare as a supplement to public heathcare for these countries to reach top scores,» Health Consumer Powerhouse said. Austria took top position followed by the Netherlands and France. »In Southern Europe, Spain and Italy do provide good healthcare services,» the report added.

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