World Bulletin / News Desk
Health Minister Mehmet Müezzinoğlu has said Turkey is the second country where patient satisfaction is the highest and that it aims to become the first.
Müezzinoğlu, who came into office in January, told Cihan about his ministry's plans and goals to improve health services in the country. He said there has been a rapid increase in the improvement in health services and in patient satisfaction in the past 10 years. “We are the second best country regarding health services. We are focusing on the issues that constitute obstacles on our road to become the best,” he said.
According to the minister, 45 to 46 percent of patients in Turkey were satisfied with the health services in the first years of 2000, but this percentage has reached 76 today. Turkey ranks second in patient satisfaction, following Finland, where 78 percent of the patients are content with health services. Turkey is followed by Denmark with 75 percent.
Müezzinoğlu underlined that once the current flaws with the health system are remedied, Turkey will be a role model for other countries with its health services. An inadequate number of doctors is the number one flaw, he said. A total of 125,000 doctors are seeing 300 million patients a year and about 30,000 extra doctors are needed, says Müezzinoğlu. “The high rate of patient satisfaction despite the lack of doctors is the result of the commitment and performance of our doctors, who try to meet the deficit by working extra hard. Each doctor gives a performance equal to one-and-a-half doctors' performance,” the minister stated.
He noted that the lack of doctors is not the result of negligence by the ministry. “It has been claimed for 30 years that there was a surplus of doctors in Turkey. It was not a simple claim; it was a product of an ideology. It was the same mentality that prevented increasing the quota of medical schools between the years of 1984 and 2006.” According to Müezzinoğlu, it was a plot to weaken the government by derailing the health system.
A significant reason for patient satisfaction is the relatively low price of health services in Turkey, he noted. While total health expenditure per capita is $ 3,251 in Finland and $4,464 in Denmark, it is $913 in Turkey.
The minister said his ministry will make crucial steps to revise the health system and to determine the flaws in the system on March 14, Turkey's Medicine Day -- celebrated every year since March 14, 1827 when the first modern school of medicine was opened under Sultan Mahmut II. “We are talking about a dynamic system here. It is a system in which neither patients nor diseases ever take a break, and demands never cease. What we should do is to constantly check the system. In this sense, we don't see fixing the flaws in the system or amending a previous decision as taking a step back. We have come to see that the newly adopted Full Day Law has led to some problems; we have heard complaints and demands regarding the law. We will announce the measures we will take regarding the issue on March 14, Medicine Day,” he said.
The Full Day Law went into effect in October 2011 and stipulates that doctors employed at university hospitals must work a full day in their state positions and cannot work in private practice at the same time.Last Mod: 12 Mart 2013, 18:00