“Czechia is facing an acute shortage of child psychiatrists, both inpatient and outpatient. As there are no systematic data on waiting times, this shortage is emphasized especially by the physicians themselves. The chairman of the Association for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry informed MZČR’s working group in May 2021 that half of outpatient providers are unable to accept new patients due to capacity reasons, waiting times are 2–3 months and there are problems with placing children with acute problems into inpatient facilities. Accessible help is often not available, even for the serious cases. The then-director of one of the three specialized psychiatric inpatient facilities for children also warned about capacity and shortage problems in their facility (MZČR, 2021b). The system came under further stress during the COVID-19 pandemic, and the backlog situation remains critical in 2022 (Deník, 2022).
“Mental health services have undergone major changes following the psychiatric care reform launch in 2011, due to underfinancing and outdated organization focused on psychiatric hospitals providing neither sufficient support for patients in their own environment nor cooperation/coordination among care providers. The underlying goal has been to improve quality of life for people living with mental illnesses, mainly by deinstitutionalizing psychiatric care; that is, by shifting from psychiatric hospitals to community/ outpatient settings, stressing the importance of multidisciplinary teams and the linkage between health and social services (MZČR, 2019).”
“Mechanisms for planning human resources are not overly developed in Czechia, and the increasing number of physicians reaching retirement age has made both the stabilization and future strength of the health workforce priorities for MZČR. Financing from the state budget has helped to contribute to the recent rise in new medical students as well as provide for subsidies from regional authorities to attract workers. Legislation has also been passed to simplify postgraduate training.”
“The full implementation of the Health 2030 plan and its goals and seven priority areas (see Section 2.4), came after an extensive study from ÚZIS with data from the NZIP and had to be updated after initial passage in 2019 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic (MZČR, 2020a). With the infusion of EU investment for the National Recovery Plan, the implementation of Health 2030 has more funds available to overcome the insufficient financial coverage that plagued the Health 2020 plan (MZČR, 2018d). Further related to the COVID-19 pandemic and in view of lessons learned throughout the different waves of infections and hospitalizations, changes in the crisis management law are also expected. Additionally, provision of care using telemedicine is an area for further legislative action. Apart from the COVID-19 pandemic, the health system performance assessment framework set up by MZČR in 2021 and supported by the European Commission will generally assist stakeholders in identifying needs for particular focus and enabling evaluation of implemented measures (see Box 2.1).
“Ongoing primary care reforms, as part of Health 2030, are aimed at boosting the competencies of primary care physicians in Czechia and use incentives from HIFs to increase the availability of care and promote prevention; long term, the plan is for primary care to offer the broadest range of services possible. Implementation of further mental health reforms are another important piece of Health 2030, as system stresses and corresponding backlogs related to the COVID-19 pandemic and workforce shortages remain. Further information regarding the future implementation of mental health reforms can be found in the National Mental Health Action Plan 2020–2030, the National Action Plan for Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Diseases 2020–2030 and the National Suicide Prevention Action Plan 2020–2030 (see Section 5.11).”
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Page last updated August 22, 2023 by Doug McVay, Editor.