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European healthcare still in good shape

Jan 27, 2015 | News

(27 January 2015) – In spite of financial crisis-induced austerity measures, European healthcare keeps producing better results, according to the 2014 Euro Health Consumer Index (EHCI) published today. The Dutch healthcare system remains on top.

Each year, the Swedish NGO Health Consumer Powerhouse (HCP) ranks healthcare systems in Europe on 48 indicators, including patients’ rights and information, accessibility, prevention and outcomes.

Survival rates of heart disease, stroke and cancer are all increasing, even though there is much talk about worsening lifestyle factors such as obesity, junk food consumption and sedentary life. Infant mortality, perhaps the most descriptive single indicator, also keeps going down, and this can be observed in countries such as the Baltic states, which were severely affected by the financial crisis.

What is less encouraging is that the tendency of an increasing equity gap between wealthy and less wealthy European countries noted in the EHCI 2013 shows with increased clarity in the 2014 edition.

Once again, the Netherlands secured a top position among 36 European countries for the fifth year in a row, scoring 898 of a maximum 1000 points. In the EU, the Netherlands was followed by Finland, Denmark and Belgium as the countries with the best healthcare, while Romania, Lithuania and Poland scored the lowest.

A record of nine countries, all Western European, are scoring above 800 points of the maximum 1000. These are followed at some little distance by three more affluent countries (Austria, France and Sweden) “not quite making it” for different reasons. After those, there is a clearly visible gap to the next group of countries, where the first CEE and Mediterranean countries start appearing. This stratification is clearer in the EHCI 2014 than in any previous edition.

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