With a population of 19.7 million, Romania is the 7th largest EU country, and in 2018 is on the 52nd position in UNDP’s Human Development Index (HDI) ranking, i.e., among the 59 countries included in the very high human development group, out of the 189 countries for which HDI is calculated.
The Country’s GDP growth was 3.5% in 2013 and 7% in 2017. The forecast is 4.1% for 2018 and 3.8% for 2019. For the first time in history, Romanians are now wealthier than all its neighboring nations, a Credit Suisse report says.
However, Romania’s health care and insurance systems are predominantly state owned, the population is largely underserved, and the quality of medical facilities and services is poor.
Ambitious investment program in support of national health system
The Government announced an ambitious program of investments in modernization of 14 hospitals and construction of 8 new regional hospitals with an estimated value of EUR300 million each, as well as a “republican hospital” including research centers and other facilities for education and accommodation, with an estimated value of EUR 1.1 billion.
Financing sources will be state budget, EU funds plus cohesion funds, including Swiss contribution, bank credits, and public-private partnerships (PPP).
Upcoming healthcare projects
The Government Emergency Ordinance (GEO) No. 39/10 May 2018 sets the rules for PPP. Other two ordinances refer to two packages of a total of 16 strategic investments to be awarded under PPP contracts by the National Strategy and Prognosis Committee. The list of upcoming projects includes:
- A national blood and stem cell bank
- Timisoara regional hospital
- Braila-Galati regional hospital
- Dr. Calistrat Grozovici multifunctional clinic
- Targu Mures regional hospital
All companies interested in projects financed with public money should be aware that acquisitions of goods and services follow a procedure of public tendering through the electronic system SEAP/SICAP.
Current developments in the private sector
The private sector is moving fast. Consolidation of clinics and laboratories resulted in big medical chains of laboratories, diagnosis centers and hospitals, MedLife becoming the first publicly listed medical company in Romania. Other private health care chains, like Regina Maria, Medicover, Sanador, Monza, Affidea, announced construction of new hospitals and medical centers, most of them including modern investigation and diagnosis departments, surgery operating rooms etc. Special attention is paid to oncology (5 centers), cardio-vascular diseases and medical recovery.
Projects supported by Switzerland
Through its Enlargement Contribution Program for 2013 – 2019, Switzerland financed two medical projects in Romania:
- Improving quality of pre-hospital and hospital emergency services
- A National Training System for Simulation in Anesthesia & Intensive Care and other specialties.
Swiss experts and trainers conducted training programs and implemented best practices in a couple of state hospitals.
Medical industry depending on imports
Romania does not have a domestic industry of modern medical technology, most of its needs being covered by imports. The largest suppliers are Siemens, Philips and General Electric. Through its divisions “Diagnostics solutions” and “Research and development” the Swiss ROCHE is a major supplier to Romania too.
It is expected that the medical sector will be included in the EU financing program and Swiss Contribution program for the 2021 – 2027 period, to be approved in 2019 by the EU and Switzerland Parliament, respectively. Coming on top of existing domestic financing sources, this will be beneficial for Romanian recipients from a rapidly growing economic sector, as well as for Swiss suppliers of surgical, medical and dental equipment, devices and instruments, patient monitoring technology, medical laboratory apparatus, specialized IT&C hardware and software, modern hospital management, etc.