In brief - 2006-09-13

  • 2006-09-13
Estonian nurses lack the time and energy to communicate with patients, as their workload is too heavy due to a staff shortage, the Estonian Nurses Union announced after a new health care report. "In order to comply with all the international recommendations concerning health care, Estonia needs nearly 4,000 more nurses," the president of the union, Ester Pruuden, said. The president added that increasing the number of nurses would significantly improve Estonia's situation, providing the population with satisfactory health care. But this hinges on improving nurses' working conditions, which includes a worthy and motivating pay, the union said.

Lithuania's health care system is the worst in Europe, a recent European health service index has suggested. The Lithuanian health service index ranked the lowest among 26 countries researched, and was announced by the independent expert organization Health Consumer Powerhouse. The experts examined the efficiency of health systems within the European Union and Switzerland. The explored criteria included accessibility of health services, patient rights, modern medication, and the recovery and death rates of varying diseases. The best index of health services was reported in France, as well as the Netherlands, Germany, Sweden and Switzerland. Countries with the worst health care systems include Ireland, Latvia, Estonia, Spain, Greece and Lithuania.

Lithuanian Health Minister Zilvinas Padaiga said the nation's poor health care system was caused by a shortage of funds. Padaiga's comment was in response to the European health services index. The minister acknowledged that the problems highlighted in the report required urgent attention, stressing that insufficient funding for Lithuania's health care system was the cause. "A series of indicators listed in the report depend on money," she said. "For instance, accession of new-generation medications to the market and provision of services are financial aspects."