£810 / $1295 / €985
The Slovak Republic is geographically well-placed in central Europe, bordering the Czech Republic, Poland, Ukraine, Hungary and Austria. The capital is Bratislava. The population is estimated at 5.5 million in 2012 and is ageing at a steady rate, in common with other European countries. Slovakia joined the EU in May 2004 and adopted the euro as its currency in January 2009.
Funding for healthcare in Slovakia is principally through the health insurance system. The Slovak healthcare system is still very much in the public sector, although the majority of pharmacies and health spas are now privately-owned. Slovakia spends a relatively high proportion of GDP on healthcare, estimated at 9.5% in 2011.
In October 2012, the government approved a plan to create a single health insurer, which would involve the removal of the two existing private health insurance companies from the market. The move is designed to boost the amount of funding available in the under-financed healthcare system. The private health insurers, Dôvera and Union, as well as the Association of Health Insurers all oppose the plan and the owner of Union claims that it infringes Slovakia’s constitution and European law.
eHealth is to be introduced in 2013 and will be fully in place by 2018. The cost of implementing the electronic system will amount to approximately 130 million euros (US$158.5 million) and will largely be covered by EU funds. It is hoped that electronic patient appointments, the national health portal and electronic prescriptions will be trialled in mid-2013 and physicians and patients will be able to start using the system in autumn 2013.
In 2012, the Slovak market for medical equipment and supplies is estimated at US$541 million, or US$100 per capita. The market contracted in 2009, but growth resumed in 2010. It is expected that the device market will continue to expand at a rate of 11.4% per annum, to be valued at US$928 million, or US$174 per capita, by 2017.
Around 85% of the medical device market is supplied by imports. These are largely supplied from Germany and other western European countries. The country has a well-established export industry focusing on areas such as dentistry.
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