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Fewer Slovaks wait for surgery

THE NUMBER of patients on surgical waitlists is decreasing, along with waiting periods, according to the findings of a study revealed by the Health Policy Institute (HPI) in mid September. The HPI ascribes this development to various factors, including competition between health insurance companies and higher resources of the biggest health insurer, the state-owned Všeobecná Zdravotná Poisťovňa (VšZP), the SITA newswire wrote.

THE NUMBER of patients on surgical waitlists is decreasing, along with waiting periods, according to the findings of a study revealed by the Health Policy Institute (HPI) in mid September. The HPI ascribes this development to various factors, including competition between health insurance companies and higher resources of the biggest health insurer, the state-owned Všeobecná Zdravotná Poisťovňa (VšZP), the SITA newswire wrote.

In April, 10,611 patients were on waiting lists for selected surgeries in Slovakia, with 7,778 enrolled with VšZP, and 2,709 and 124 with private insurers Dôvera and Union, respectively. HPI spokesperson Roman Mužík said that while the number of patients on all health insurers’ surgical waitlists in Slovakia was on the rise in March 2012, numbering 19,541, it has since gone down.
VšZP registered the highest number of patients on surgery waitlists at 232.7 per every 100,000 clients. Dôvera followed with 188.9 and Union with 28.2.

Most patients were awaiting surgeries for knee joints (3,036), hip joints (2,721) and cataracts (2,580).

In addition to the decreasing number of patients on surgical waitlists, the HPI also recorded shorter waiting periods for some surgeries. The waiting period for hip joint surgery has decreased by 5.3 months, to an average of nine months. On the other hand, the waiting period for cataract surgery remained unchanged, with an average of three months.

The HPI advocates prevention in order to further shorten surgical waitlists. It also proposes to refine the scope of health care that patients in Slovakia are entitled to with compulsory health insurance. The HPI calls for greater transparency with publishing waitlists and more effective and better coordinated health-care provision.

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