Health and Healthcare Systems

The countries where people worry the most about healthcare

Doctors and medics perform a surgery for Palestinian woman Sadeya al-Shafi, 60, in the operating room at Shifa hospital, Gaza's largest public medical facility, in Gaza City, March 29, 2017. REUTERS/Mohammed Salem             SEARCH "GAZA HEALTH" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.

People in Hungary, Poland and Brazil are most concerned about the state of healthcare in their country. Image: REUTERS/Mohammed Salem

Rob Smith
Writer, Forum Agenda
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Almost three-quarters of Hungarians are concerned about healthcare, according to a monthly survey by market researcher Ipsos Mori.

Alarmingly for Hungary, this is an increase of 22% in comparison to December, which may be the result of ongoing issues within the country’s healthcare system, including long wait times in hospitals and reports of corruption.

In Poland, 62% of people are worried about healthcare. This is an increase of 10% from December. A report by professional services firm PwC in 2016 suggests a shortage of funding “has been and will remain a problem” within Poland’s healthcare system.

After Hungary and Poland, 46% of people in Brazil worry about healthcare, while in the United Kingdom 42% of people do. According to reports, Brazil’s healthcare system has been under strain for some time because of budget shortfalls, protesting, and the outbreak of the Zika virus, among other issues.

Hungary, Poland and Brazil are the countries most concerned with their healthcare. Image: Statista

Is the UK’s NHS in crisis?

In the United Kingdom, meanwhile, there are major concerns about long wait times and funding, which has driven many to suggest the UK’s National Health Service (NHS) is in crisis.

According to British trade union Unite, issues within the NHS have “brought staff to their knees and patients languishing in overcrowded waiting rooms and hospital corridors”.

The solution, says Unite, is to properly fund the NHS and bring it back into the public’s hands – a plea that coincided with demonstrations in February.

People protest to demand more funding for Britain's National Health Service Image: REUTERS/Neil Hall

The protests led US President Donald Trump to tweet that the NHS was “going broke and not working”, which drew an unlikely show of unity from British politicians.

Indeed, Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt replied to the President via Twitter, saying: “I’m proud to be from the country that invented universal coverage – where all get care no matter the size of their bank balance.”

US attitudes towards healthcare

Unlike the United Kingdom, however, citizens in the United States require insurance to access healthcare.

The survey showed 38% of Americans are worried, a figure that has improved by one percentage point since December, but is still noticeably higher than the world average of 24%.

The BBC estimates that around 15% of Americans lack affordable health insurance. To help rectify this, former President Barack Obama introduced the Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as Obamacare, while in office.

And while the law has faced fierce opposition from some politicians since being passed in 2010, January saw a surge in the number of Americans selecting the Obamacare plan to cover their healthcare in 2018.

Where citizens don’t worry as much

At the other end of the scale, the survey shows only 3% of people in Turkey worry about healthcare, while in South Korea, Mexico and Argentina only 6% do.

Globally, 24% of people worry about healthcare Image: REUTERS/Ueslei Marcelino

While the systems differ in each of these countries, all have some form of free access to healthcare.

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Health and Healthcare SystemsGlobal Cooperation
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