More than 70% of EU citizens are satisfied with the overall quality of the healthcare in their home country, according to a new survey by Eurobarometer. However, there are great differences between member states, with western and northern countries being in general more positive.
While almost all respondents in Belgium (97%), Austria (96%), Malta and Finland (both 94%) say that the overall healthcare quality in their country is good, only around a quarter of respondents in Romania (25%) and in Greece (26%) say the same.
The eurozone debt crisis has forced some governments to drastically cut public health budgets in an effort to contain deficits, with Greece being one of the countries taking the toughest measures.
But despite the crisis, in some countries, citizens are becoming happier about the quality of healthcare they receive.
Since the last Eurobarometer survey on the topic in 2009, there have been some big shifts in opinions, including in Lithuania, where 40% of the respondents said the overall quality of healthcare in their country was good compared to 65% today (+25). Likewise, respondents in Hungary (+19), Portugal and Malta (both +13) are also now considerably more likely to be positive about the overall quality of healthcare in their respective countries.
When asked to name up to three criteria that they associated with high quality healthcare, respondents picked well-trained staff (53%) and treatment that works (40%) and modern medical equipment (25%).
Surprisingly, respondents also said that "cleanliness" is as important as "no waiting lists" amd "proximity of hospital and doctor" (24%).