Slovenia makes poor showing in EuroHealth Consumer Index

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The recently released EuroHealth Consumer Index had bad news for Slovenia. Although regularly cited as a poster child of new Europe, the country finished in the lower half of the European Union.

Slovenia finished in 21st place overall, out of 29 EU countries, in the total scores of the EuroHealth Consumer Index. The index ranks national healthcare systems in five areas, including waiting times, access to medicine, and patients' rights. It's compiled from statistics by the organisation Health Consumer Powerhouse in Brussels.

Slovenia did not actively partipate this year, but the director of the Index, Arne Bjornberg, was confident in the data collected.

"In those cases where we do get responses, we have very good responses like in 2006. Unfortunately, none in 2007. But we believe that our data are as reliable as the information available to local ministers of health."

Austria topped the list this year, followed by Holland and France. Poland, Bulgaria and Latvia were at the bottom of the list. Slovenia finished behind Malta and Portugal.

In the 2006 index, Slovenia topped the list of countries in the category 'bang for your buck' - meaning it provided the most value per euro spent. In this year's rankings, according to the Dr. Bjornberg, the biggest problem areas for Slovenia were waiting times and access to new drugs:

"The Slovenian patient organizations very unainmously responded that the waiting time situation leaves a lot to be desired. The other is access to pharmaceuticals. We think that Slovenia is not really a poor country. Access to modern pharmaceuticals is worse than it should be for financial reasons."

The organization's recommendations for Slovenia included increasing access to new drugs, and speeding up 'systematic delays' in the system.