Too Long Waiting Lists for Some Croatian Patients

Total Croatia News

Waiting times in Croatian hospitals vary considerably.

While waiting times in Croatian hospital are often too long, there are considerable differences between various towns. For example, at the General Hospital in Gospić there is no waiting for abdominal CAT scan, while in Split people have to wait for as many as 378 days for the same exam, reports on February 22, 2017.

As for MRI, which can diagnose tumours and various neurological diseases, you have to wait between 26 days in Dubrovnik and 495 days at the Sestre Milosrdnice Hospital in Zagreb, according to the official data of the Croatian Institute for Health Insurance (HZZO).

There are many factors which affect how much time you will have to wait for the first examination, diagnosis or surgery – from the number of employees in a hospital to how old the medical equipment is. A recently conducted study analyzed waiting lists in 15 health institutions, and the analysis included abdominal CT scans, MRIs, and cataract surgery. Patients can have these procedures done in medical institutions outside of their place of residence. In such cases, the cost of transportation to other towns is covered by the HZZO.

Among all waiting times, the longest is 657 days which patients must patiently wait for a cataract surgery at the Sveti Duh Hospital in Zagreb. The reason for such a long wait is probably the good reputation of doctors in the hospital, since they have many years of experience and very good results. At the same time, at the General Hospital in Pula, you have to wait for just 30 days for the traditional method and about six months for the ultrasound method. Some of the other hospitals do not even perform this surgery, so for example patients from Gospić have to go to another town.

One of the most popular exams is abdominal CAT scan. The longest waiting time for the exam is in Split-Dalmatia County, where patients have to wait for 378 days, or more than a year. On the other hand, at the General Hospital in Gospić there is no waiting, so patients can immediately undergo the exam. While it is clear that the Split hospital has many more patients than the one in Gospić, it is obvious that work in Split could be better organized.

At hospitals in Zagreb, which also have a large number of patients, waiting lists are also long but not as long as in Split. In addition, medical equipment in Split often breaks down, which means that at times hundreds of patients cannot undergo their scheduled exams. Several years ago, physicians in Split complained that their devices were so old that they produced “blurred” images which were very difficult to be read. In October last year, the Clinical Hospital Centre in Split finally received two new CAT units, bringing their total number to four, but the waiting lists are still long.

When it comes to the brain MRI, the waiting times are also long. At Sestre Milosrdnice Hospital in Zagreb, the waiting times are between 260 and 495 days, depending on location. The hospital administration explains that they have two MRI devices which work continually and therefore sometimes break down. In such cases, repairs are very costly and time consuming. “Every day, we do 40 MRI scans, 20 for our hospital patients and 20 for other patients”, says the hospital administration.

While emergency patients do not have to wait at all, other patients have to wait for a variety of reasons. For example, about ten patients a week do not appear for the exam on the scheduled day. The hospital says they are overwhelmed with work so they cannot call patients the day before and check whether they intend to appear at the scheduled time or not.


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