Primary care structure and provision in Romania: report launched


Dr Victor Olsavszky, Head of WHO Country Office Romania

A report evaluating the structure and provision of primary care in Romania - the primary care evaluation tool - was launched during the annual meeting of family doctors in Bucharest recently. The Ministry of Health of Romania and other stakeholders are using the survey to look at both the supply and demand of primary care, monitor progress on primary-care policies and set new priorities based on evidence.

Speaking before the launch, the former Deputy Minister of Health heralded the developments in Romania’s health system reform. "At present, the new health care law is the Ministry’s priority. In this context, such an evaluation of primary care based on specialists’ and patients’ points of view, is particularly important since it identifies the strengths of the family medicine, as well as weaknesses. These should be included in the debate to improve the quality of services and cost-efficiency of the health system," said Dr Vasile Cepoi, former State Secretary, Ministry of Health, Romania.

Following this introduction, WHO/Europe outlined new developments in primary health care in the health service delivery system, including key issues such as:

  • primary health care as a hub for other services;
  • the development of primary health care interventions for noncommunicable diseases; and 
  • the development of evidence based, cost effective and effective primary health care interventions as a substitute for hospital care.

The Centre for Health Policies and Services of Romania presented data that were collected through questionnaires to nurses, general practitioners and patients.

The WHO Country Office in Romania also provided an overview of the key findings and policy recommendations of the research done by the WHO collaborating centre Nivel. These recommendations include:

  • keep primary care a priority in health policy development;
  • strengthen the gate-keeping role of general practitioners;
  • develop a human resource policy; and
  • develop a more independent role for nurses.

The meeting in Bucharest concluded with a discussion among family doctors on how to take the recommendations further. The report will be disseminated more widely and implemented on a bilateral basis by the WHO Country Office together with all stakeholders.