Belgium has shortest waiting time for healthcare in Europe


Belgian healthcare is among the best in Europe. In terms of waiting times, Belgium is even leading the way. As a result, Belgium ranks sixth in Europe, according to a study carried out every year by the research institute Health Consumer Powerhouse on behalf of the European Commission. The Euro Health Consumer Index informs patients on where in Europe they can receive the best treatment. The top 5 countries in the ranking list are the Netherlands, Switzerland, Norway, Finland and Denmark.

Belgian healthcare is especially praised for its accessibility and generosity. Belgium spends a lot of money on healthcare and the quality of public services is generally high. Patients who need to see a doctor in Europe will be treated most quickly in Belgium or Switzerland. In most cases, patients in Belgium will get to see a doctor that very same day. Cancer treatment starts, on average, less than 21 days after diagnosis. In many other countries, the waiting time is often much longer.

Belgium also achieved sixth place last year, but researchers say that some shifts are noticeable. For instance, there are fewer recorded cases of hospital infections, but the use of antibiotics must be restricted to prevent the rise of antibiotic resistance.

“Belgium has one of the best healthcare systems in Europe and would be a dream come true for the medical tourist”, says Arne Bjornberg, chairman and research leader of the Health Consumer Powerhouse. Bjornberg still sees that there are gaps in information to patients. “In Belgium, a list of certified doctors has finally been published, which patients can use to choose which doctor they wish to see. But with even better information, Belgium would hold all the cards.”  In recent years, medical tourism in Belgium has been on the rise. It is mainly the Dutch that make their way to Belgium for medical treatment, followed by the French, Luxembourgers and the British.

The Euro Health Consumer Index is based on a series of criteria, such as the costs of medicines, availability of doctors, chance of survival after cancer or a heart attack, attention to prevention and the number of medical treatments available. The index rankings are based on information from the World Health Organisation (WHO) and national statistics.