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Health

Study: European hospitals are an industry in the red

A study by a renowned consulting firm has highlighted the plight of many hospitals across the European Union. It said almost half of the medical centers displayed weak finances, with many at risk of defaulting.

Global management consulting company Accenture has claimed in a fresh study that nearly every second hospital in the EU (46 percent) is currently facing the risk of defaulting on its financial commitments.

The firm looked at some 500 hospitals in nine European nations, accounting for about 30 percent of the entire market in those nations. It investigated just how well the medical centers in question would be able to stand a creditworthiness test.

Accenture said its calculations showed 22 percent of hospitals in the high-risk category in terms of their probability of default, with all of them entirely dependent on their funding body to guarantee their continuity.

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The study said the problem was even more acute in individual nations such as Portugal, where nearly six in ten hospitals (59 percent) were in the high-risk group, with the situation in Norway, a country facing none of Portugal's public debt pressures, being not much better.

The survey highlighted gaps not only across nations, but also within them, showing striking discrepancies also in a country such as Germany, which was otherwise praised by Accenture for having one of the most successful financial hospital management structures in place.

"There's no reason to sound the all-clear in Germany," the author of the study, Sebastian Krolop, said in a statement. "The gap between financially successful hospitals and those close to failure has been widening rapidly."

He added that if these discrepancies were not addressed, citizens within the same country might face different standards of care over time or risk losing nearby access to local hospitals.

hg/tj (dpa, Accenture)

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