Europ Assistance survey reveals British concerns over healthcare

The British feature heavily in Europ Assistance’s latest survey into European health habits, needs and concerns, as UK citizens show the most anxiety over the risk of infection in hospitals and the lack of public funding for the healthcare system.

  • For 6 out of 10 Europeans, equal access to healthcare is not guaranteed
  • 1 in 4 Europeans may forsake care because of the recession
  • 60% of Britons view the UK’s healthcare system as good or excellent – higher than European counterparts
  • 79% of UK residents think the standard of healthcare provided by GPs is excellent or very good – higher than any other European country
  • 81% of Britons are concerned about the risk of infection during a hospital stay
  • 77% of UK residents see a lack of public funding being the biggest threat to the healthcare system
  • 56% of Britons view healthcare for the elderly as insufficient or poor
  • Only 32% of Britons are in favour of online medical consultations compared to 69% of Swedish residents

The third “Europ Assistance Barometer” presented in Chamonix last week (Friday 25 September), is designed to provide a snapshot of Europeans’ opinions on their healthcare systems.

Europ Assistance, a leading provider of health and assistance services surveyed over 2400 Europeans from the UK, Germany, France, Italy, Sweden and Poland, to gain a clear view of citizens’ needs and preoccupations in terms of healthcare.

Firstly, the survey showed 58% of Europeans are aware that their fellow citizens do not have equal access to care. This rate is particularly high in Poland and Germany.  In fact it is predominantly only the British who feel that the present healthcare system enables equal access to treatment for all, with 69% agreeing with this statement. Only 19% of Polish residents and 28% of Italians believed their fellow nationals all had equal access to treatment.

The survey revealed that while 81% of Britons don’t feel the recession will impact on them receiving healthcare, 33% of Polish residents and 36% of the French have been or will be forced to forego or delay healthcare treatment.

The survey also revealed that while Europeans have an overall positive opinion of their general healthcare system, with 60% of Britons viewing the UK’s healthcare system as good or excellent,  62% of Europeans consider care of the elderly to be insufficient or poor.

This is particularly true of the Polish, where 82% believe care for the elderly is either average or poor. 63% of Europeans view the current public funding for the care of elderly and dependent people to be insufficient. To deal with the management of dependent people, 60% of Europeans are in favour of a combination of public funding and private contribution.

All those interviewed for the survey were asked what they felt was the biggest threat to their health systems. 81% of Britons viewed the risk of infection in hospital as the biggest threat to the UK healthcare system, closely followed by a lack of public funding. Polish citizens were concerned over treatment delays, with 93% seeing this as the biggest threat to their health system. The Germans and the Swedish were most concerned about the shortage of doctors, while the French viewed lack of public funding as the biggest threat.

Finally, Europeans were asked their opinions on healthcare and technology. On average younger Europeans had a more positive perception of using technological methods to aid healthcare.  Only 32% of Britons were in favour of the development of medical consultations over the internet.

“The survey gives us great insight into the thoughts and concerns that European citizens have in relation to their healthcare systems,” explained Paul Everett, Sales and Marketing Director, Europ Assistance. “The results once again show that UK residents’ opinions differ to their European counterparts. While many Europeans are concerned about the inequality in access to healthcare and the impact of the recession, Britons are more worried over the lack of public funding and the risk of infection in UK hospitals. However, when it comes to concerns over the care of the elderly and dependent all Europeans agree that current facilities and funding are insufficient.”


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