36% of French-speaking Belgians postponed their medical treatment in 2022, according to a survey conducted by Solidaris. Fears were also raised over 50.6% of Belgium's poorest having postponed treatment last year in Brussels and Wallonia.
In the survey, 36% of those who delayed receiving treatment stated that it was due to financial issues faced in 2022.
The figure decreased from the previous year's figure of 45%. However, the average number of delayed treatments went up from 2.76 to 2.89.
When looking into which treatments were the most postponed, 25% of respondents indicated that they had put off receiving dental care in 2022. However, it was mental health care that underwent the biggest increase in delays since 2015, with 9% more respondents having put such treatment off.
These findings come in the same month as the World Health Organization criticised the Belgian Government for the high medical costs placed on Belgium's poorest households, with Solidaris' survey showing how Belgians in French-speaking regions have postponed medical care.
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The survey also paid particular attention to which social groups had to renounce medical care, with the usual suspects coming out on top.
People suffering from depression and those unable to work were the ones who postponed most often in 2022, with 77% and 67% respectively.
Over half of single-parent families (54%) also had to delay their treatment, with 50.6% of the regions' poorest also having postponed their medical care.
To tackle these issues, the Belgian health insurance fund has called on the government to ensure that consultations with GPs and basic dental care are free of charge. Solidaris also wants doctors to stop charging additional fees for their poorer patients.
They want to see an increase in benefits given to Belgium's most vulnerable social groups, with particular attention paid to unemployed workers, calling on the government to address the causes of work incapacity.