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News archive - June/July 2012

European healthcare feels effects of debt crisis

European healthcare feels effects of debt crisis

RESTRUCTURING and outsourcing, job cuts and recruitment freezes are just some of the ways in which austerity measures are reshaping healthcare services across Europe.

A new report by GlobalData, which looks at how the sovereign debt crisis is affecting the European healthcare industry, says falling public revenue due to rising unemployment is further reducing healthcare affordability which has seen a number of subsidies to medical care being scrapped by countries who have received bailouts.

Healthcare spending has been slowed throughout Europe, with some countries reducing the operational costs of health services, and the prices paid to providers for services covered by health insurance. Several countries set up more comprehensive interventions, improving their healthcare services: promoting efficiency measures, rationalising the healthcare supply, and improving coordination between different levels of care and outpatient activity.

In some countries, free healthcare is now becoming a thing of the past - a new hospital fee of €5 per visit has been introduced in Greece, and Berlusconi’s €60 billion austerity plan enacted in 2010 introduced new charges for emergency treatment in Italy, while fresh charges for regular doctor appointments were also levied.

Employment policies and retirement reforms are expected to change in European member states, meaning that healthcare professionals are also affected. The severity of salary cuts and restrictive policies may drive away healthcare professionals to other countries with better opportunities.

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