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Club fire highlights problems in Romanian Healthcare System

by Eastern Europeans
Club fire highlights problems in Romanian Healthcare System
When fire broke out during an October 30 concert at the Collectiv nightclub in Bucharest, Romania, 162 people were injured in addition to at least 49 concert goers who died in the blaze itself and in a stampede toward the building’s only exit.  Romanian hospitals were overwhelmed with the influx of patients and lacked the facilities, the medical staff and the medicine to cope with the serious burns that many of the injured concertgoers suffered. As a result, 35 of the most seriously injured had to be flown by NATO for treatment to hospitals in other countries, including 12 to Britain and Norway. Others were transported to Israel, the Netherlands, Austria, Belgium and Germany.   Many of the injuries were caused when a fireworks display on stage ignited foam on the walls at the concert. Romanian hospitals did not have any supplies of the medicine required to treat the toxic burns, let alone the facilities to adequately treat the patients. The incident once again spotlighted the serious state of Romania’s health-care system, which remains seriously underfunded in spite of government attempts to try to improve the situation over many years. Mass exodus As a result, doctors and other skilled medical personnel continue to stream out of the country in their thousands. They are attracted by the improved working facilities and higher salaries that they can earn working abroad, and are leaving for countries such as Britain, France and Germany. In some cases, salaries are as much as 10 times higher in those countries than in their home country. Specialists can earn 30 times more abroad. Some suggest, too, that a part of the reason for the exodus is corruption in the Romanian system. According to a recent report in The Washington Times, some 28 per cent of Romanians say they have given bribes to doctors, hoping that by doing so they might obtain better care. This figure compares with 5 per cent in other EU countries. In addition, Romanian hospitals are said to be seriously lacking in proper sanitation and departing doctors say hospital facilities are run down and old. These problems are contributory factors in prompting medical staff to leave the country. Ironically, medical officials point out, many of those flown to other countries after the Collectiv fire may have been treated by doctors and nurses who originally worked in Romania, but left the country as part of the mass exodus. As the doctors leave, Romania loses out twice. The country contributes funds toward the training of the doctors, only to see other countries benefit from that training when the doctors head for greener pastures. Number of departures grow The number of doctors leaving has jumped dramatically since 2007, according to Prof. Vasile Astarastoae, president of the Romanian College of Physicians. Consider these figures: • Over the past three years 35 per cent of resident doctors have left Romania. • Since Romania joined the European Union six years ago some 14,000 doctors have left the country. • In Britain, 2,140 doctors who obtained their medical qualifications in Romania work for the National Health Service, more than those from Poland, Australia or Spain. • In Romania, home to 19 million people, only 48 doctors are radiotherapy specialists and only 54 specialise in geriatrics. • Intensive care units should have 1,800 doctors, but only 624 work in them. Hardest hit are the hospitals, which are losing nurses and doctors at an increasingly disturbing rate. By 2014 the total of doctors in the hospitals stood at half that required by directives from the Ministry of Health. Romania’s ratio of doctors per head of population is one of Europe’s lowest. And, as the Collectiv fire demonstrated so dramatically, most hospitals in the country often lack even basic supplies. Battling for decades The crisis is not new. The Romanian health system has been battling against a lack of adequate funding for 25 years. But it has continued to become steadily worse and worse each year, putting the entire system on the brink of collapse. The government has tried to stop the bleeding. Over the years it has revamped the system several times. The government began in the 1990s by decentralising the health care system, which had been centralised under the communist government. This move was the first in several efforts over the years to remake the entire system and ensure that financing and available resources were used more efficiently. The hospitals were reorganised, the health insurance system was overhauled, and doctors standing in the community was improved. Few can doubt that improvements were made. But even as the government pumped more money into the health care system, it remained way behind the rest of Europe. For example, between 2000 and 2010, the Romanian population fell by 9 per cent, but the number of beds in public as well as private hospitals dropped by double that amount. Over the years, starting wages for resident doctors have been increased by more than 40 per cent and the budget for health care services has been raised from 3.7 per cent to 4.3 per cent of gross domestic product. But the funding remains way behind most of the rest of Europe. The number of doctors for every 100,000 Romanians has grown from 177 in 1995 to 237 in 2010. But, at the same time, the EU average grew from 313 to 331. Medical observers say not only does Romanian health care remain seriously underfunded, but spending on health care also continues to lag considerably behind most EU countries, setting the country back further and further. The mass exodus does not help. The Romanian College of Physicians says that whereas 3,000 doctors are introduced to the Romanian medical system every year, some 3,500 are lost. Some retire and others die. But the majority are lost through emigration. Lagging EU averages The effect on health care in the country is reflected in the statistics. Life expectancy grew from 1990 to 2012, but it continued to lag the EU average. Last year the European Commission noted that Romania had one of the lowest rates of life expectancy in the European Union. At the other end of the scale, infant mortality has improved to 9 per cent, but it remains among the lowest in Europe. The crisis does not look like going away soon. In coming years Romania will have to cope with a population that is growing increasingly older even as the number of working people falls. This trend will place strong pressures on the health care system. It seems to many, therefore, as if a lot more funding and reorganisation will be required if the system is to improve.


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Article of the Day
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Other articles:
- Possible Consequences of Brexit on Care Homes and NHS
- Travel Guide to Romania
- Romanian Festivals and Traditions
- Could the UK Healthcare system survive without EU Nurses and Carers?
- History of Hungary Part 1 - Medieval Period
- Famous Historical Polish People
- A Brief History of Lithuania
- Estonia - Small but Beautiful
- A Tourist's Guide to Romania
- History of Poland Part 3 - Modern Day
- History of Poland Part 2 - World Wars 1 and 2
- History of Poland Part 1 - Medieval Age
- Healthcare Ails as Doctors, Nurses Emigrate
- Traditional Drinks of Eastern Europe
- Hungary's Natural Thermal Spas
- The History and Difference Between Samba and Salsa
- Name Day - Traditional Polish Custom
- A Tourist's Guide to Latvia
- Placek Swiateczny - Polish Christmas Bread
- The Inca Trail in Peru
- A Brief History of the United Kingdom
- Mexican Dishes and their importance in Traditional Culture
- Cultural Sites of Interest in Poland
- Polish Weddings - Traditional Customs
- Back Packers Guide to Eastern Europe
- How to Manage your Debts during a Recession
- Czech Republic - A Bohemian Paradise
- Romania and the Myth and Origins of Dracula
- Bulgaria-Land of Outstanding Beauty
- Credit Crunch- Has the Capitalism Bubble Burst?
- A Tourist Guide to the Amazon in Brazil
- 20 credit crunch busting tips
- Argentina and Brazil: Rivals in Life and in Sport
- Hungary- Land of Dental Tourism
- London- Playground for the New Russian Elite
- Poland, Family, and Catholic Culture
- Once Golden, Again Golden Poland
- British people of Brazilian descent
- Go Green and Beat the Energy Crunch
- History of Brazilian Samba
- Polish Employee Rights - Anna's Case Study
- Employee Rights -Holidays and Wages
- Cosmetic Surgery in Eastern Europe
- Porkolt- Hungarian Stew
- Review of Polish Festival In London
- Writing Within the Periphery of Culture;
- Different Cheeses from Romania, Poland, Hungary
- Blend in Like a Local in Peru
- Argentinian Bocaditos -finger sandwiches
- Feijoada, Brazilian National Dish
- Basic Polish for Beginners - Part 3
- Fashion Saving Tips- Affordable Panache
- Scottish Traditional Dish - Haggis
- Bliny -Russian Pancakes
- Bigos -Polish Hunter's Stew
- Interview with Writer of Life of a Recluse
- Polish Words for English Speakers - Part 2
- The Rainbow Poem
- Polish Words for English Speakers - Part 1


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