The Nordic region and all Scandinavian countries have been considered to have the best healthcare systems in the world. In fact, all the countries rank among the top 10 countries with the best healthcare system in the world except for Denmark and Greenland, which rank 24 and 58 respectively. This comprehensive healthcare system is covered by public finance. This ensures that the resident population enjoys and has access to very high standards of healthcare at very little cost. There are three different sections of the Nordic healthcare system in each country. All of these segments are separately addressed. However, all the countries have the same healthcare structure.
The healthcare system in the region is top-notch, with life expectancy surpassing that of the US two to three years longer.
Cost of Healthcare
Health care is free for minors and in some cases, like in Sweden, adults are required to do co-payment, meaning that they pay part and the state covers part of their healthcare bills. Dental services are free for children and adults are required to pay for it. A lot of people admire Nordic countries for their healthcare systems especially because the state funds about 75–85% of the health cost of citizens.
Before the 1990s, public health was funded by the state budget; there were fewer options for patients since the state-funded prescribed only certain general practitioners. Since then, the system has changed toward a more efficient and flexible system designed to promote more productivity by medical practitioners and hospitals, which gives patients a lot to choose from and also increasingly ensures more access to specific limits. The main discontent of the public is the long waiting times for non-acute care.
In recent years, just like everywhere else, healthcare costs in the Nordic countries have increased; however, the economic burden has also been stable.
Healthcare Administration in Nordic Countries
The structure of the healthcare system in Nordic countries is more of a universal healthcare system, and this has been the case since 1945, despite the system being changed several times. As are available, patients can choose their primary care physicians who are more of gate-keepers to hospital and specialized care. There is also on-call emergency care run by hospitals that provide quick access.
Norway is one of the Nordic Countries which has such great healthcare systems and always ranks among the top 10. Although the state taking control over the healthcare system is very beneficial to citizens, especially because healthcare is a basic necessity and a lot of low-income earners need all the support they can get to maintain healthy standards, the government interference in other sectors such as the oil and gambling industry is stifling. Many of these companies are unable to operate freely because of excessive control from the government. And the gambling industry is taking a big hit with such controls. Many online casinos are almost running out of business because they can’t operate, especially as many of their customers tend to international companies for these services. Click here for more information about how online casinos are coping with such restrictions.
General practitioners are contracted by the local health service, and most of them are self-employed. They are usually paid through a combination of the number of patients they have on their list (capitation payment) and fees for their services. One thing that is becoming more widespread is clinics and group practices. Most remote areas prefer recruiting healthcare officials from abroad, who are offered more incentives.
The terms and conditions of the contracts of healthcare professionals and physicians in the Nordic region, which are assigned to state institutions and hospitals, are organized through joint agreement and negotiations by unions and the professionals. One great thing about this is that the cost of higher education to become a medical practitioner is totally free for citizens of this region.
Challenges Faced by the Nordic Healthcare System
In recent years, there are a lot of challenges that this system faces. One major issue that the system faces is the increase in the aging population. Due to low birth rates, the number of old people is drastically increasing in the region, which is greatly affecting the progress of the system as a lot of people go into retirement, needing more medical attention, with the number of practitioners reducing. Also, the Nordic healthcare system faces challenges such as unhealthy lifestyles increasing the number of people in need of specific attention, and to a lesser extent, immigration as a lot of people move to the region. The state also faces the challenge of funding advanced technology required in this sector, the training of health practitioners and maintaining their skills as technology advances entail a lot of state expenditure.
In recent years, many hospitals have been facing closer as hospital stay continues to reduce, as is the case with many Western and European systems. Technological innovations are increasingly being adopted at a very high cost. Although the health statistics in the region indicate positivity, there is growing concern about the lifestyles of citizens, which has increased preventive policies with regards to the use of alcohol and narcotics, tobacco, diet improvement, and exercise and coping with contagious diseases such as HIV/AIDS, as well as providing suitable care for the increasing aging population.