Clinical Neuroscience

[Neurology 2009: a survey of the neurological capacities, their utilization and neurologists based on the 2009 reports of the institutions in Hungary]

BERECZKI Dániel, AJTAY András

MAY 20, 2011

Clinical Neuroscience - 2011;64(05-06)

[A detailed information on the quantitative and qualitative features and the regional distribution of the current neurological services at the national level is necessary for the planning of health care provision for the future. We present the characteristics of the current neurological services analyzing the database of the National Health Insurance Fund for 2009. This database is exceptionally large and detailed compared to similar data sources in Europe. We examine the number of patients and cases treated both in hospitals and at outpatient units, and also present the distribution of major diagnoses based on ICD-10. We discuss the major problems in three groups: the decrease of capacities; the fragmentation of capacities; and the uneven distribution of workload on neurologists. Number of neurological hospital beds, weekly hours of neurological outpatient capacity, and the number of neurologists are presented. In the analysis of the utilization of capacities we give the number of patients, the number of cases and the financing of the professional performance. We characterize the workload of neurologists by the mean daily number of patients seen by a neurologist, by the number of outpatient units served by one neurologist during the year, and by the proportion of the total workload on each neurologist. Neurological capacities significantly decreased in the period of 2004-2009: 12 hospital neurological wards were closed, and with further decreases in bed numbers the original 3733 neurological beds decreased to 2812. In four counties - Bács, Heves, Tolna and Vas - only a single neurological ward survived. The capacity withdrawn from inpatient care was not transferred into outpatient services. In 2009 there were 179 hospitals and 419 independent outpatient centers in Hungary. Of the 179 hospitals 55 had neurological beds and a further 42 hospitals offered only outpatient neurological service. Neurological outpatient service is offered in Hungary altogether by 185 institutions: 97 hospitals and 88 independent outpatient centers. Suboptimal outpatient services (less than 30 hours per week) cover 57% of the outpatient capacities. There is an over fivefold difference among counties in capacities: the number of inhabitants per hospital bed ranges between 2167-13 017, and the number of inhabitants per one neurologist outpatient hour between 495-2663. In 2009 there were 1310 board certified neurologists in Hungary, of these only 834 participated at least once during the year in exclusively neurological service, and there was a large difference in workload among individual neurologists. The gross mean income of a 30-hour-per-week average neurological outpatient practice based on performance reports was 871 thousand HUF (about 4350 USD or 3160 EUR) per month. In recent years the neurological capacities significantly decreased and fragmented, do not correspond regionally to the number of population to be served, and their profitability does not cover the conditions of self sufficient operation. This analysis will help health care providers and decision makers to recognize and address the current problems and design the neurological health care system for the coming years.]

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