LONDON (Reuters), Jun 27 - France, the Netherlands and Germany have the most consumer-friendly healthcare systems in Europe, a report released on Monday said.P>The three northern European countries came out on top in the 2006 Euro Health Consumer Index (EHCI), while Latvia, Ireland, and Lithuania were at the bottom of the list that includes the 25 members of the European Union and Switzerland.
Slovenia and Estonia, with fewer resources than other nations, were judged to have the best value for money.
"This suggests that good healthcare is not just a matter of money but also the right priorities and smart design," said Johan Hjertqvist, the president of Brussels-based Health Consumer Powerhouse (HCP), which published the report.
"From a consumer point of view there is room for large improvements in every healthcare system," he added in a statement.
HCP provides consumer information on healthcare. It ranked the countries in five categories -- patients' rights and information, waiting times for treatment, outcomes, generosity of the healthcare system, and pharmaceuticals.
The Netherlands was judged to be top in patients' rights and information and pharmaceuticals and Sweden had the best outcomes.
Belgium, France, Germany, and Luxembourg were best in terms of waiting times while Hungary, Malta, Sweden, and France gained marks for their healthcare systems' generosity.
The report also showed that many patients wait more than three weeks for cancer treatment in three quarters of the 26 countries.
Medical records were also inaccessible to patients in half of countries included in the index.
Last Updated: 2006-06-26 12:05:58 -0400 (Reuters Health)
Copyright © 2006 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of Reuters content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Reuters. Reuters shall not be liable for any errors or delays in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon. Reuters and the Reuters sphere logo are registered trademarks and trademarks of the Reuters group of companies around the world.