February 28, 2019

Finland applauded for its healthcare system

Finland made it to the ‘800-club’ with the eight best-scoring nations. The club refers to countries that scored above 800 points out of the theoretical maximum of 1 000.
Annika Söderblom

The Euro Health Consumer Index 2018 has ranked Finland’s healthcare system sixth best among 35 European countries.

The index is based on 46 indicators, including access to care, treatment outcomes, range and reach of services, and prevention. Finland held tight to renew its sixth position from the previous year. The Finnish healthcare system is praised for the its outcomes, which received the best score in the study, along with Norway and Switzerland. The Finnish system also did well in terms of value for money.

Improvement is called for in preventative care and subsidies for prescription drugs. Waiting lines were listed as an issue a few years back, but they have now been significantly improved, although some issues remain, according to the report.

“[T]here is no correlation between money and waiting times: it is cheaper to run a healthcare system without waiting lists than having waiting lists,” explained Arne Bjornberg, professor and chairperson of the Health Consumer Powerhouse. “Contrary to popular belief, not least among healthcare politicians, waiting lists do not save money – they cost money.”

ECHI is an independent study of European healthcare systems’ performance that has been conducted since 2005 by the Swedish research company Health Consumer Powerhouse. It has been dominated by the Netherlands and Switzerland for the past 10 years, with the Nordic countries usually ranking in the top ten. As a more general observation, the study notes that, regardless of the tumultuous decade for Europe, aggregate healthcare has continued to improve throughout the 2010s.

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