Having access to Accident & Emergency departments, due to the languishing National Health System, is more and more difficult for millions of patients in all Europe.
Italy, Slovakia, Hungary and Poland are just some of the countries where, together with Iceland and Greece, it is difficult to find a free bed.
Whether in case of emergency or planned recovery, receiving medical care in time becomes harder and harder. Especially if we are abroad and the European health public sector is often tight on money and luck under organic.
The Consumer Healthcare Association (HCPO) in 2015 took over several European countries and 48 indicators, including patient rights, information, access to care, and results of interventions.
The emerging picture appeared immediately alarming.
If The Netherlands has been ranked as the best healthcare system in Europe, Greece, Italy, Slovakia, Hungary and Poland are the Countries which have collected the lowest scores in the survey: providing prompt hospitalization remains a goal difficult to achieve; specially in Ireland, ranked at the bottom list.
Slovakia is struggling to reduce the high number of deaths due to cardiovascular and heart attack diseases. Many patients, in addition, have contracted infections within its public hospital facilities.
Currently Hungary scored very poorly in terms of waiting times, success rates, and provision of medicines. It has been reported that 32,000 deaths would be avoided in 2014 due to the presence of well-trained staff and equipment. We are confident that the Country will undertake a radical reform of its public health system.
Health system reforms are also expected in Poland, where newly made doctors and senior medical professionals are leaving the national hospitals and moving abroad: why? Sporadic investments and low wages in a sector overloaded by obsolete hierarchies and disorganization.
The waiting times for surgical interventions and medical prevention visits in all these three countries may exceed 90 days.
As citizens and patients, which risks are we facing?
To make it clear, there is a very important difference between emergency surgery, urgent recover and elective procedure.
The emergency surgery is one that must be performed without delay: the patients have no choice other than immediate surgery, if they do not want to risk permanent disability or death.
An urgent surgery is one that can wait until the patient is medically stable, but should be hospitalized generally very quikcly.
Elective surgery or elective procedure is surgery that is scheduled in advance because it does not involve a medical emergency.
The congestion of the waiting lists was usually concerning only the emergency departments; now the situation has gone from bad to worse: if we have to go suddendly under important medical examination, the booking reservations of mammograms, TAC, ecodoppler, oncological and cardiological visits may require very long time.
This means that every time we have to quikly book a preventive medicine visit – whose results allows us to intervene in time in the elimination or containment of a particular disease – we may be asked, in most cases, to wait our turn at the end of long waiting lists.
Even if we need to go under first-aid surgery, we may find ourselves in the same unpleasant situation: to wait our turn in the A&E Dept.
In case of emergency, we may receive immediate hospital cares following these 3 recommendations.
1. Let’s visit the emergency room early in the day.
According to an international study – which has involved more than 10,000 nurses, paramedics and newly graduated surgeons – it has emerged that first-time emergency medical care staff is more efficient and available right in the early hours of the day.
It is therefore possible to receive immediate care when needed, as long as the choice of the time to visit the emergency room falls in the early morning.
2. Let’s consult our family doctor.
A further solution to avoid long waiting times is to visit first our specialist. Some operations, if not urgent, can be carried out at outpatient level, without requiring on overnight stay. In this case, we may receive immediate care and be discharged on the same day of surgery.
Instead, if we need an operating room, our doctor may direct us to the most specialized medical facilities.
So, instead of crowding the emergency waiting rooms, it is advisable to evaluate together with our family doctor which clinic is available and ready to admit us.
3. Let’s count on our international private health insurance.
Only this specific insurance allows us to choose the clinic (it may be both public and private) and have immediate access worldwide: the insurance company guarantees the availability of doctors and operating room. The insurer will reimburs directly to the clinic all expenses (which may be very high) for prevention visits, the surgical equipe and drugs.
Why is important to have a trusted expert in private medical insurance?
Let’s see these following benefits.
1.Finding the best insurance coverage on local and international markets.
Now a day, there are more than 30 international insurance companies specialized in private health insurance. Each of them normally offers 3 main products (from the “basic” to the “executive” option), with the inclusion of other offers designed for families, students, businessmen on travel.
We may easily face in front of 300 different products: what to buy? Without a doubt, consulting our health risk manager may help us to understand what is right for us.
2. Reducing the insurance premium, and get the the ideal cover.
Fining the product which most suits us is only the first step, but still is not enough. Adjusting the premium is very important, considering that prices continue to rise for the following reasons:
1.costs of booking surgical rooms and medicines are getting higher and higher;
2.the age of the population grows;
3.insurance companies have to pay many claims: they tend to increase the premiums of the new insured to keep their budgent in goodstanding.
Reducing the insurance premium is therefore possible, as described in this my post.
3. Identifing the medical facility and facilitate hospitalization procedures.
Each insurer has its own network, which is represented by selected medical clinics all over the world.
Before to be admitted, it is very important to individuate the hospital which has the best doctors able to assist and cure our pathology.
Therefore, the role of our family doctor and health risk manager is to identify and communicate in time to the insurer the type of surgery and the name of the clinic we are to undergo.
Based on the first medical examinations, the insurer selects, among its network, the one that can guarantee our prompt admission.
4.Arrange the payment of all expenses by the insurance company.
Who buys a private medical policy is entitled to obtain the full rembursement of all the medical expenses like admission, surgery, assistance, drugs.
During the admission phase, it is enough to show the “card” we receive at the purchase of the insurance.
This document, which has the dimension of a credit card, includes not only our main personal data, but also the name of the insurance company and the number of our private policy.
The important thing, before to get any admission, is that the clinic be a member of the our insurer’s network.