Known for the problems of its public health care system, Bulgaria is gaining more and more popularity as an excellent place for treatment in its private medical centres. The good price-quality ratio is the main reason why many Bulgarians and foreigners prefer them.
How did it get this way? In 1999 the country went through a health reform. A state health fund was created and a health fee was introduced, its goal being to cover the health services expenses. However, even today, the patients still have to pay additionally for a number of things. The once affordable public system turned out to be not so affordable – the additional payment start with the choice of a medical team, various additional fees and sometimes even the medical supplements for the treatment.
The explanation for the dire state of public health care is prosaic – money. The country does not spent enough for funding health care – the expenses for it is 4.6 percent of GDP, with only Latvia and Lithuania behind in the EU, with respectively 3.3 percent and 3.9 percent of the GDP. For comparison, the median figure in the EU is 7.3 percent of GDP. The champions are Croatia (9.2 percent), Denmark (8.6 percent), France (8.3 percent), Finland (8.2 percent) and the Czech Republic (7.8 percent). The insufficient funding of the Bulgarian state healthcare created an unstable public system that functions with difficulties, often at the expense of quality.
The lack of funding for state medicine has led to a serious technological lag. Apart from this, it is also becoming unattractive for part of the good specialists. Recently, some Bulgarian media even reported that there are doctors working abroad for the weekend to supplement their incomes. An analysis of Bulgarian Industrial Association, an employer's organisation, warns that at the moment the number of coroners, anesthesiologists, pediatricians, microbiologists and surgeons in Bulgaria is under the critical minimum.
In this situation the private health care sector grows and attracts some of the best Bulgarian specialists and patients from the EU, Russia, Israel, and other countries. The good professional reputation of the medical staff and the acceptable price of medical education is also an explanation for the good name Bulgaria has in this area. In Bulgarian medical academies there is never a shortage of applicants, and there are many students from the Near East, Greece and the EU studying in Bulgaria.
Logically, the biggest concentration of high-quality medical centres in Bulgaria is in Sofia. But in the big cites, like Plovdiv, Varna and Pleven, work clinics, hospitals and specialised centres, offering, too, healthcare of top quality.
Dental care is among the most popular healthcare sough by foreigners in Bulgaria. The attractive prices which are much lower than in the EU or the USA, secure steady interest since the end of 1990s, regardless of whether the patients seeks treatment of common caries or pulpitis, or want to replace their teeth with implants. Whatever the problem, the good dental clinics in Bulgaria offer quality services in treatment, implantology and aesthetical dentistry,
Bulgaria reproductive medicine clinics also attract attention with quality of the services, the care for the patients and the most advanced methods for assisted reproduction and preservation of genetical material. The ageing population and the problems of late pregnancy in the West are increasing, and even the Bulgarian state funds sterile couples for fertility treatment and assisted reproduction.
As a result, the number of private reproductive clinics in Bulgaria is growing and their services are getting better. Amongst the most popular methods for assisted reproduction are the in vitro fertilisation and ISCI, or Intra Cytoplasmic Sperm Injection, but the specialists in good places are distinguished for their individual approach. They customise the treatment according to the specific needs of the couple, inform the patients on the sperm and eggs donorship, embryo transfer, cryopreservation of sperm, eggs and embryo, and help them to make an informed decision.
The Bulgarian ophthalmologists are also in high demand. The good clinics for eye treatment have the latest equipment for correct diagnostics and the timely treatment of conditions such as amblyopia, cataract, presbyopia, and diabetic retinopathy. There, patients suffering from severe forms of hypermetropia or myopia can do a laser correction which will save them from glasses and lenses.
Oncological diseases are one of the most common health conditions in the developed world and are a constant source of fear for people affected, directly or indirectly. Prophylaxis is key, meaning that after a certain age, and hereditary predisposition, regular examinations are a must. In case there are doubts for a problem, colonoscopy and rectoscopy are some of the methods to be used to make sure everything is all right. For the women a regular gynecologic cervical screening is recommended, and for the men – prostate check up.
In the unfortunate case when a more severe situation is diagnosed, the good hospitals and clinics in Bulgaria are equipped with technology and specialists for fast, timely and effective treatment. One of the innovations in the area, in Bulgaria, is the treatment of benign and malignant tumours with high intensity focused ultrasound. It destroys the tumour without affecting the healthy tissue surrounding it.
In the Bulgaria, you may also find qualified obstetrics and gynecology services at a very high level. Private clinics offer ultrasound check up, hormonal status, diagnostics, pregnancy planning, and the specialists in them are dedicated to their mission and take restless care for each patient.
Private centres for imaging diagnostics and the private laboratories, are also at world level, with modern methods of analysis and attractive prices.
Indeed, the low prices of healthcare in Bulgaria are attractive, but remember, that health is priceless. Before choosing where to seek help for your problem, check carefully the clinic and the professionals working in it.