Belgium has risen to the 5th spot in the European health index, up from 8. Belgium is lauded for its quick and good treatments, high levels of child vaccinations, and the affordability of health care. Long waiting lists in mental health care and a lack of information are identified as points where action should be taken.
Belgian public health minister Maggie De Block (Flemish liberal) is upbeat: “The study confirms our health care is good quality and that we possess a generous insurance system.”
The Swedish think tank Health Consumer Powerhouse (HCP) has been comparing 35 European care systems since 2005. Today only Switzerland, the Netherlands, Norway and Denmark have better health care.
Belgium scores well thanks to high vaccination levels, good survival rates for cancer and a speedy treatment of patients.
Long waiting lists in the mental health sector are an issue.
Belgian public health minister Maggie De Block (Flemish liberal): "Our mental care is very specialised. The specialised care needed isn't always immediately available. Until recently mental care wasn't refunded either. This has now changed.”
Belgians are still drinking and smoking too much. We are consuming too much antibiotics too. Maggie De Block: "Nine out of ten Belgians know antibiotics don't work against flu, but despite a fall in recent years our consumption remains too high. It's a contradiction."
Belgium should also provide patients with more information. Every hospital now has its own ombudsman service, but there is no central platform. Maggie De Block: "We're working on it! By 2020 there will be a central point where you will be able to find all information on patients' rights."