There is a tendency for some countries, hospitals and agencies targeting Europeans for medical tourism to treat Europe as one mass. But attitudes to healthcare in Europe, not only vary from America and Asia, but differ between countries. European consumers share a high interest in healthcare, but hold varied views on many health issues, says a new TNS Healthcare study of 2500 Europeans in five countries.
There is a tendency for some countries, hospitals and agencies targeting Europeans for medical tourism to treat Europe as one mass. But attitudes to healthcare in Europe, not only vary from America and Asia, but differ between countries.
European consumers share a high interest in healthcare, but hold varied views on many health issues, says a new TNS Healthcare study of 2500 Europeans in five countries.
It says that more than 90% of consumers across the five major European markets – the UK, France, Italy, Germany and Spain – share an interest in health, European woman are significantly more concerned with health than men, with 95% of females expressing interest in health issues compared to 89% of males. Age also makes a difference, with 55% of those older than 55 expressing an interest in health compared to just 44% of those between 18 and 24.
Louise Tamblin at TNS Healthcare UK says, “The study indicates that, in all countries, most people take health for granted while they are young, particularly if they have no health issues. Those who do suffer from any medical condition-even if it’s minor-become significantly more interested in health than those who do not.”
Europeans share the same views on many health issues. For example, the majority of consumers in all countries agree that they only go to the doctor when necessary. They also believe that they know when to visit a doctor and when to self medicate.
The survey reveals large differences among countries and between consumers and physicians in the same country on many aspect of the physician relationship. While 64% of consumers in the UK say that they would rather buy a medicine than visit a doctor, only 18% of that country’s physicians agree. Spain comes out at the opposite end of the spectrum, with just 33% of consumers saying they would prefer to buy a medicine than visit a doctor–and only 10% of physicians agreeing. There also was broad disagreement on whether it is risky for people to treat minor ailments without seeing a doctor first.
Results are based on an on-line survey of 2500 consumers 18 and older (500 per country) in the UK, France, Germany, Spain and Italy. The study was conducted in April 2009. TNS Healthcare provides market research consulting worldwide.
Neil Thompson of UK based private medical insurance provider National Friendly, recently went to Europe to explore the impact of EU legislation on healthcare, and says the implications of the directive on cross-border healthcare have yet to be fully explained, “Nobody quite knows what will happen if somebody does elect to go overseas for treatment and the bill is higher than it would be in the UK. If a knee operation was £4,000 in France and £3,000 in UK, who would pick up the extra £1,000? Arguably anybody who had an insurance policy might expect that their insurance provider to meet the excess. This is one of many questions as yet unanswered in the Europe Parliament.”