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    Belgians feel in good health despite negative indicators

    A large part of the Belgian population (78%) feel in good health, a result above the European average. However nearly one in three of all health care quality indicators (34 out of 106) are negative, the KCE (the Centre Fédéral d’Expertise des Soins de Santé – which researches medical care quality) claimed in a press release on Tuesday. Amongst the latter, the number of GPs has not met the quotas set by the Commission de Planification (the medical services planning commission).

    The KCE publishes a “check-up” of the Belgian health system on a three-yearly basis, which is worked out in conjunction with both INAMI (which provides health insurance) and the Institut Scientifique de Santé Publique (which carries out research supporting public health policy).

    According to the third edition of this study, the majority of Belgians feel that they are in good health (78%). However, the Belgian health care system, which has a good reputation with the population, nevertheless has many shortfalls. The study found no less than 34 alarm signals.

    Thus “prevention objectives, which are set at international level, are not always reached,” claims the KCE. “Moreover, as regards health promotion, the results are less than stellar,” adds the study.

    Some mental health and psychiatric care indicators are equally worrying, according to the study. The suicide rate remains high, admission to psychiatric hospital wards is on the rise, as is the taking of antidepressants.

    Lastly, the KCE expresses its worry as to the availability of GPs and nurses, claiming that the proportion of newly qualified doctors has not reached the quotas set by the Commission de Planification.

    Christopher Vincent (Source: Belga)