- The greatest dissatisfaction is with the speed of emergency care and the old equipment in hospitals
- GPs are registered in only 627 out of 5,000 villages, in another 491 they work part-time
- 800 thousand people do not have access to primary medical care
Half of Bulgarians do not believe that they can get good health care without connections in medical circles. And the trend of mistrust has persisted steadily over the past four years. This is according to data from a representative survey conducted by the National Center for Parliamentary Studies.
44.8% of those who took part in the survey answered negatively to the question “Is it possible to get good health care in our country if you do not have connections with doctors”.
49.6% do not believe that it is possible to get quality healthcare in a small town. The interesting thing is that the residents of the capital also share this opinion. And 60.3% are convinced that it is impossible if you don’t pay for the service.
The survey on the topic of public opinion on current problems in the field of health care was conducted in the period September 15-28, 2023, using the semi-standardized interview method among over 1,000 adult Bulgarians from all over the country.
The biggest criticisms of the health system relate to access to specialists in small and remote settlements, the speed of emergency aid and control over health facilities.
It is clear from the survey that the situation with doctors in small settlements is getting worse.
69% are categorical that they do not have equal access to specialists,
and in 2019 they were 63%. There is also an increase in those who state that there is no hospital in their place of residence – from 27 to 33%.
There are 5,257 populated places in our country at the end of 2020, of which 5,000 are villages and the rest are cities, according to data from the National Association of Municipalities in Bulgaria. However, there are registered GPs in only 239 cities and 627 villages. In another nine cities and 491 villages there are jeeps operating on a partial schedule. In all other 929 small towns and 3882 villages, where 800 thousand people live, or 12% of the population of Bulgaria, there is no access to primary medical care.
63.4% of the respondents are not sure that they would receive quality medical care. However, the problem is not with the doctors, as again according to nearly 2/3 of the respondents
there are many good specialists in Bulgaria,
and in the lack of modern equipment and good equipment (46%), easy access for patients to qualified medical care (34.9%) and sufficient information on where to seek quality service (31.1%). Data analysis shows that a significant proportion of people who complain of limited access to healthcare in the last year
they did not treat their illness precisely because of the remoteness of the hospital
or the lack of a specialist doctor.
As solutions to the problem, the respondents suggest improving the control at all levels, the conditions in state hospitals, as well as increasing the salaries of specialists.
More than half of Bulgarians believe that the health system does not provide either timely emergency care (dissatisfaction here has increased by 9% compared to 2019) or good conditions for treatment in hospitals.
The state does not help to reduce the use of cigarettes, alcohol and drugs
The opinion is categorical – stated by 80% of the respondents. However, according to analysts, the problem in this regard is deepening, and at the end of 2021, almost half of the deaths in the country are the result of harmful habits.
The low assessment of the role of the state is also justified by the results – 35% indicated that they have chronic diseases, compared to 31% four years ago.
However, this is expected to change in the coming years, as the basis of the National Health Strategy 2030 are investments aimed at limiting risk factors such as smoking, alcohol, drugs and unhealthy nutrition.
The reasons to which the respondents attribute their health problems are also curious.
According to 43%, they are the result of stress at work,
according to 30% – due to lack of money for quality health services, and 28% believe that it is due to unhealthy nutrition.
However, the study also reports positive results, especially in terms of prevention
59% explained that they were satisfied with preventive examinations compared to 39% in 2019, and 42% praised the modern and accurate diagnosis of diseases.
Those who wish to have private health funds to act in parallel with the NHIF are gradually increasing, and they are already 23%.
It is clear from the data that most of them are in good health and earn above the national average. The idea is that this way the money will be collected in an individual lot and everyone will spend it on themselves. This is the wish of nearly half of the respondents – 48%, although some of them prefer to keep only the health fund.