Healthcare in Turkey
The healthcare system in Turkey has a highly complex structure. The Ministry of Health (MOH), universities and the private sector are the health service providers in the Turkish health system.
Healthcare in Turkey has improved drastically over the decades, so much so that Turkey is now a regional leading provider of healthcare services. Currently recognized as a focused healthcare destination with superior technological advances, Turkey treats thousands of foreign patients from the Middle East and European countries every year. Turkey has continued pursuing medical superiority and solid expertise to create a foundation in creating quality care for patients. The healthcare system is striving to become a global competitor with other health service providers so it can not only reach excellence regionally but also globally. If you are planning a trip, holiday or are coming to Turkey for medical treatment outside your own country there are some things you should know about the healthcare system and what it means for you as a foreign visitor.
Financing of Healthcare System
The financing of healthcare system has three main sources, which are: Government budget funded by taxation revenue, contributions from employed citizens, and out-of-pocket payments, which are made by each individual who uses the health service (SGK/Republic of Turkey Social Security Institution, 2008). Citizens in vulnerable groups of society such as pregnant women, war veterans, diabetics and tuberculosis patients do not have to pay any charges. Expats, however, are obligated to pay for health services until they have lived and worked continuously in Turkey for two years.
Employers must register their employees with the health insurance fund and then income is automatically deducted from employees’ salary. Dependant family members are covered by the contributions paid by employed family members. The unemployed, old age pensioners and people on long-term sickness benefit or maternity leave do not have to make payments. Self-employed people must make their own contributions to the health insurance fund suffer from overcapacity and lack of finances; University Hospitals, which have (Orhaner 2006).
There are several types of hospitals throughout Turkey: State-funded hospitals, which suffer form over capacity and lack of finances; University Hospitals, which have the highest standard of care out of all three of hospital types and boast highly skilled personal, and private hospitals. Although a limited percentage of Turkish citizens can afford to use private healthcare, it is affordable in comparison to Western expectations and on a par with western standards. Therefore, in recent years there has been a marked increased in the number of people travelling to Turkey as “medical tourists” to take advantage of this cost disparity.
Only general practitioners (GPs) and consultants (senior doctors who have completed a higher level of specialised training) can prescribe medicine and prescription medicine is only available from registered chemists or hospital pharmacies. Employed people and dependent family members pay 10 percent of medicine price and it is 20 suffer from overcapacity and lack of finances; University Hospitals, which have percent for the other citizens (SGK/Republic of Turkey Social Security Institution, 2008).
Emergency care is available free for Turkish citizens including those without state health insurance. Emergency departments are open non-stop all year and can be reached by dialling 112. By 2008 all ambulances, which are used in 112 Emergency Health Services, were accredited to the European standards (Akdag 2008).
Dentists & Ophthalmologists
Dental care in Turkey is of a high standard.The dentists have facilities, which meet Western standard and they are mainly private with no fixed prices for treatments. Also Turkey has a reputation for expert laser surgery, to the point where some Turkish lasik surgeons now train ophthalmologists in other countries. Thus, many foreigners come to Turkey for ophthalmologic procedures.
The last few years have seen a rapid reformation of the healthcare system in Turkey. The health transformation programme and the European Union harmonisation / accession process have been the leading pressures on this reformation. In order to reach the expected quality levels and complete the transformation programme, future steps must be taken towards overcoming the deficiencies in Turkey’s healthcare system and accelerating the accreditation process of healthcare organisations and their services.
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