Country profile

The healthcare system in Romania

The healthcare system in Romania is in flux at the moment, with proposals and counter proposals for a full or part privatisation. In November 2011 it was announced that all hospitals should go either private or take on charitable status, with all citizens obliged to take out private health insurance. This proposal was then withdrawn in January 2012, reverting to the existing universal, state funded system, before a new proposal for a semi-private system was suggested in March that year. It seems inevitable that some sort of privatisation is going to take place, taking the 425 state hospitals into the private sector, joining the growing number of private clinics and hospitals.

Currently, the best state hospitals are to be found in the capital, Bucharest, with regional centres not quite meeting the same standards for skills of facilities. The Romanian Ministry of Health is investing in the system to improve things, such as doubling the number of ambulances available, as well as considering the privatisation options discussed above.

European Union citizens will be treated on an equal basis to Romanian nationals, currently gaining free access to healthcare, as long as they can produce a valid EHIC cards and their passport.

The number of well-equipped private hospitals has grown rapidly in recent years, with over a hundred new units added in the last decade. Part of this has been driven by the rapid growth of medical tourism. These hospitals boast the very latest, state of the art equipment and technology, however many lack the necessary emergency facilities, and so patients who suffer complications could well end up in the local state hospital for intensive care treatment.

Prices for private healthcare in Romania are significantly lower than in Western Europe or the United States, with the total cost of treatment, including travel and accommodation, less than half of the cost of treatment alone in many countries.

Romania has struggled to keep hold of its doctors in the past, with as many as 20,000 leaving in five years from 2007. However, the growth of medical tourism, and the accompanying growth in salaries, has resulted in many more staying within the private system.

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