An increasing number of people are turning to private health clinics to get checked out or for minor ailments instead of going to their regular GP, a trend that is hardly surprising given the extensive ‘waiting’ times and crony benefits that people often come across when visiting a doctor in Slovakia.
Attention was drawn to the trend by daily Pravda today in an article that claims that one of the main reasons for the increased use of the private network of healthcare facilities is that they have better and longer opening hours. This argument makes sense considering how visiting a regular GP will cost you probably an hour or two from work time.
As might be expected, it is larger towns and cities that lead the way in the trend, but this could also be because that is where most private clinics tend to be set up. Most clinics charge a small fee of something like EUR 2 for a visit, with X-rays and scans also not so expensive.
As most GPs close their surgeries around 3 or 4 o’clock in the afternoon, a visit means time off work as people now work much longer hours than before. The former government introduced a small fee for visiting the doctor also at state-run healthcare facilities, which led to a drop in the number of people showing up merely for sneezing, especially in respect of the elderly. This base fee was cancelled by the Robert Fico government, however.
Another aspect designed to reduce the volume of patients at GPs was allowing them to go directly to specialists, but this was also cancelled under the policies of the current government, so once again you must queue up first of all at your GP before you can go see most specialists.