Features & Analysis

Doctors are Humans Too: Where’s the Romanian Health System Heading?


Photo Source: thebalochhal.com

We read news almost every day about the high number of Romanian doctors that leave the country, unsatisfied with the lamentable way the Government treats them. Almost 2,000 doctors left Romania, this year. For the past four years more than 8,000 out of 40,000 licensed doctors decided to find work in other countries. These are numbers that we often ignore until we need a doctor and then we complain about the healthcare system that ignores us or makes us pay too much. It’s a vicious circle that only a proper reform can break.

Romania faces now a shortage of doctors, an issue that the Government still ignores. Here are only 1.9 doctors per 1,000 inhabitants, or if we count the dentists, the country has 2.2 doctors per 1,000 inhabitants. In other EU countries, the average is 3.7 doctors per 1,000 inhabitants.

We tend to blame doctors for the poor condition of the hospitals and the bad health treatments. But it is they who should build proper infrastructure or procure proper medication? We often forget that the real issue is this health system that does not offers too many opportunities for doctors, especially the young ones,  to practice medicine at the highest standards or to conduct proper research. It is true that the Government spends more than 64 million euro annually on education for doctors. But in the end it leaves the young residents to figure out their own way in the jungle that it is the Romanian health system. We talk about reforming this system at the same pace we talk about reforming the education system. And the solution is more talks and then other talks.

Photo Source: isbor.org

It is known that the shortage of doctors is not only a national issue of Romania. Bulgaria and even Hungary, among other countries, are facing the same stringent issue. However, this is not a reason to shrug one’s shoulders, especially when the Romanian College of Physicians recently warned the Government that Romania could face a similar situation as Slovakia. Not long ago, in Slovakia, doctors and nurses resigned massively due to low salaries and poor working conditions. Even if they returned to work after 48 hours, the situation there is still precarious.

“Romanian College of Physicians supported the actions of Slovak doctors since the beginning and we understand their demands that are similar to the ones Romanian doctors have”, Romanian College of Physicians declared in a press release, according to Agerpres.

For the past 20 years,Romanian officials have ignored the health of its population. If we consider that the funds available for the health system were between 2% and 4% of GDP, compared with other Central and East European countries that allocate about 8% of GDP, the earlier statement it’s not inopportune. (The OECD countries allocate even more funds, between 10 and 12% of GDP)

The average funding allocated for the health system, for the past 20 years, is 3.2% of GDP. This translates in roughly 210 dollars/ inhabitant.

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