Press release: Three-fourths of Estonian citizens are content with the quality of medical care

The survey Resident’s Assessments on Health Care and Medical care 2010, which was commissioned by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health Insurance Fund, was presented today. The results of the survey show that two-thirds (63%) of residents consider the Estonian health care system good, over half of the people (55%) are content with the availability of medical care. The quality of medical care is assessed to be rather good by almost three quarters (74%).

Compared to the previous year, the assessments regarding health care administration and the availability and quality of medical care have remained on the same level or risen slightly. During the previous year, the number of people who visited a doctor has decreased, but at the same time, the waiting time for a GP’s or a medical specialist’s appointment has become somewhat longer according to the assessments of the respondents.

Almost half of the respondents (45%) have come across the digital prescription and 92% of them were satisfied with the digital prescription when they last used it.

Hanno Pevkur, the Minister of Social Affairs, stressed that almost 40% of residents have adopted a healthier lifestyle in spite of the worsened economic situation. “True, compared to the previous year, is lower by some percentage points, but it still shows that people are becoming more and more aware of the importance of health and our lasting promotion of health is paying off. Life expectancy has also increased, but the pressure applied to the health care system by disadvantageous lifestyles is still great and therefore, paying attention to lifestyles is essential,” said Pevkur.

The Minister of Social Affairs is also pleased that the residents continue to be content. “It brings me joy that residents are still content with the availability and quality of medical care and they are happy with various doctors. This means that praise is given to the work of our doctors and shows that the contribution made by the Supervisory Board of the Health Insurance Fund to the increase in the number of treatment cases was the right choice. Nevertheless, the amount of people who make complaints about the negligence of doctors has increased alarmingly,” Pevkur added. “It is also very positive that so many citizens have come into contact with digital prescriptions, that the digital prescription is more actively used and that the great majority of those who have used digital prescriptions have been satisfied with it,” noted the Minister of Social Affairs.

According to Hannes Danilov, Chairman of the Estonian Health Insurance Fund, preserving the availability of medical care has been a serious challenge in these complicated economic conditions. “At the same time, the contentment with the availability of medical care has not decreased, but remained on the same level as in the previous year, which is a good indicator. Hopefully, waiting lists will be shortened as a result of the agreement achieved with the Estonian Hospitals Association stating that the following year, the waiting lists for ambulatory care will not exceed 6 weeks,” said Danilov.

In addition, Danilov stressed that 81% of residents find that the opportunity to choose a medicine with a suitable price from the pharmacy is an important one. However, only 27% of respondets were able to use that opportunity. “We will certainly continue to notify residents, doctors and pharmacists of the opportunity to choose a medicine with a suitable price from the pharmacy,” Danilov assured.

The purpose of the annual survey ordered by the Ministry of Social Affairs and the Health Insurance Fund is to get an overview of the residents’ assessments regarding their health, the medical care offered in Estonia and their contentment with health care administration as well as the availability and quality of health services.

The report of the survey can be found on the homepage of the Ministry of Social Affairs http://www.sm.ee/meie/uuringud-ja-analuusid/tervisevaldkond.html or on the homepage of the Health Insurance Fund http://www.haigekassa.ee/haigekassa/uuringud.  

Helena Nõmmik
Press Representative
Ministry of Social Affairs
helena.nommik [at] sm.ee  
+ 372 6269 321
+372 53 304 974

Evelin Koppel
Head of Public Relations
Estonian Health Insurance Fund
+ 372 6 208 439;
+ 372 534 789 49
evelin.koppel [at] haigekassa.ee