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The Netherlands has the best healthcare in the Europe

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Staff writer ▼ | December 2, 2013
Netherlands healthcareThe Netherlands has retained its position at the top of the annual Euro Health Consumer Index (EHCI) which compares healthcare systems in Europe.

On 48 indicators such as patient rights and information, accessibility, prevention and outcomes, the Netherlands secured its top position among 35 European countries for the fourth year in a row, scoring 870 of a maximum 1,000 points.

In the EU, the Netherlands was followed by Denmark, Belgium and Germany as the countries with the best healthcare, while Romania, Portugal and Latvia scored the lowest.

The EHCI is compiled using a combination of public statistics, patient polls and independent research conducted by Swedish NGO Health Consumer Powerhouse (HCP).

The EHCI's accessibility indicator, was criticised at the launch event for measuring only waiting times for treatments without considering financial restraints. In some European countries like Sweden or Belgium the poorest might be deterred from making appointments because they pay upfront each time they visit a doctor and are reimbursed later, critics said.

The HPC mentioned that one of the key findings in 2013 is of a "two-speed" delivery of healthcare depending on the country. The quality of care that a patient can expect is discernibly higher in rich countries than in the poorer ones, and this gap is widening.

The HPC also raised concerns for healthcare companies and patients over access to new treatments and therapies, saying that financial restraints have encouraged a growing number of countries to increase the delay between the approval of new medicines and therapies and reimbursements made for these.

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