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Bulgarians unhappy with healthcare services

Date: 09.11.2008

Research published by Open Society Institute (OSI) in Sofia on November 5 2008 shows that Bulgarians tend to give bad reviews when the county's healthcare system is concerned. Half of the interviewees have replied that, compared to five years ago, now they could afford medical services of poorer quality. Many people have expressed fears that in the near future it would become impossible for them to even buy the medicine they need.

The lack of adequate reforms in the healthcare system, postponed for a number of years, have led to the growing mistrust among Bulgarians. Close to six billion leva are needed for the modernisation of the network of hospitals, an amount that exceeds the current annual budget allocation by a factor of 70, Georgi Angelov, senior economist at OSI, said as quoted by Dnevnik daily.

He gave the example of the private Tokuda hospital, which by mid-2008 has received 140 million leva in investment. The Health Ministry allocates 100 million leva for ongoing repairs in all 350 hospitals in the country.

the only solution was the quick privatisation of all healthcare facilities, Angelov said. European practice in this respect shows that hospitals emancipated from the state improve their financial standing and begin to offer services of higher quality, he said.

In 2006, all private hospitals accounted for only five per cent of the total number of beds in the healthcare system, while in Belgium and other European countries, the ratio rises to 65 per cent.

The sale of all medical facilities should comprise a package of reforms concerning the healthcare system as a whole. According to the OSI economists, the privatisation could begin either at the end of 2009, or at the beginning of 2010.

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