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European Union has 'Three-Speed' Healthcare System - Many Countries Lagging in Reform
Date:10/1/2007

BRUSSELS, October 1 /PRNewswire/ -- Austria now has the most consumer-friendly healthcare system in Europe, according to the 2007 Euro Health Consumer Index (EHCI). The EHCI compares all the EU 27 national healthcare systems, along with Norway and Switzerland, from a consumer-friendly point of view, measured by 27 indicators across five categories. Runners-up were 2005 winners the Netherlands, with 2006 winner France in third place. Closely behind the top three came Switzerland, Germany and Sweden. In addition, Estonia warrants a particular mention as a country that has successfully revitalised its healthcare system -which cannot be said for other new members of the EU.

"The Index shows that healthcare reforms in Europe are delivering improvements, but it is patchy - some bigger countries, such as Italy and the UK, remain relatively poor performers", says Johan Hjertqvist, president of the Health Consumer Powerhouse. "The information presents a potential platform for comparisons between Europe and the US; in the US, consumers pay far more for their care services, but how do we measure the value for money? A global comparison would be fascinating"!

"We will launch a Canadian Index later this year", added Hjertqvist. "This will provide an initial comparison between European and North American services, and perhaps be the catalyst for a wider benchmarking exercise including the US".

About the Euro Health Consumer Index:

The EHCI groups 27 indicators of quality into five categories: Leading nations in the categories were as follows:

- Patients' rights and information: Category winner, Denmark.

- Waiting times for treatment: Category winner, Belgium.

- Outcomes: Category winner, Sweden.

- Generosity of the healthcare system: Category winners (tied), Finland, France and Sweden.

- Pharmaceuticals: Category winners (tied), Denmark, Ireland, Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.

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SOURCE Health Consumer Powerhouse.
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