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Deloitte’s Conference Addressed the Current Issues and Challenges Faced by the Czech Health Care System

A shortage of nurses, doctors and medical students and their subsequent departure abroad, overtime work by medical staff, a low proportion of GDP going towards health care, and low wages and salaries. These are the most pressing issues affecting the Czech health care system as cited by Josef Veselka, Head of the Cardiological Clinic of the 2nd Faculty of Medicine at Charles University and the Motol University Hospital. What could be the solution? Restructuring the network of health care facilities, centralising patients and treatment, and reorganising the health care system as such.

January saw Deloitte host a conference in Prague on the future of the life sciences industry. Besides the challenges in the Czech Republic, it also addressed health care trends from a global perspective. Besides Deloitte’s representatives, the participants also included the Czech Minister of Health Adam Vojtěch and the doctor and Head of the Motol University Hospital Josef Veselka.

Czech research lacks international cooperation

While millennials are ambitious in other fields and would preferably manage firms right from the beginning, the situation is different in health care. According to Josef Veselka, only 11% of Czech millennial medics aspire to become leaders. The number of medical students is not rising either. “Why is this so? In this respect, the problem is not with the applicants but rather the system. In recent years, about 2,000 people have applied every year but we only accept about 200, although we could admit 400. In this context, someone could say: but the quality would be worse. However, I do not think so. The differences among applicants are small,” said Josef Veselka in citing examples from the existing practice.

Another key aspect is research. “I would liken the Czech health care system and research to Czech sport – barring exceptions, we collect medals in marginal sports, but we lack international cooperation. In this regard, we are entirely uncompetitive,” emphasised Josef Veselka and went on to add: “However, research makes no practical sense without international cooperation. Supporting people rather than projects is of key importance – that is, supporting those that apply for it. If it is the other way round, the allocation of funds is unfair.”


Low health care costs are not sustainable in the long term

Health care from the economic perspective was another conference topic, which was explored by Václav Franče, a Deloitte analyst. “It is a stable industry. The revenues are relatively low, but so is the risk. Its future is given by the demographic development. The population will grow older – that is inevitable. While this is negative news for public finances, as increasing costs in this industry will constitute a burden, in contrast, the news is good for the health care system itself,” said Václav Franče.

According to analysts, the Czech health care system is a stable industry generating relatively low revenues but, at the same time, it is a low-risk sector. “In the long term, this is not sustainable as the staff will not want to have the same salaries as they have today indefinitely. Understandably, the aging of the population will also contribute to this; however, the situation has yet to reach the level in the western countries. By 2060, the average age will be 47 (at present, it is 42). As a result, demand for health care services will be on the rise,” concluded Václav Franče.

Life Sciences Industry and its Challenges
Karen Taylor, a Director at Deloitte Centre for Health Solutions in the UK, summarised the life sciences industry from the global perspective as follows: “It is a complex and fragmented regulatory landscape, struggling to keep pace with the exponential changes in medicine, science and technology while protecting patient safety. At the same time, it is the most regulated environment of all. However, this is logical – health care has an impact on our health.”

The key challenges for the segment include, for example, the fact that drug development is a complex, time-consuming and costly process. Furthermore, the future of research and development is influenced by emerging technologies (artificial intelligence, machine learning, robotic process automation). While the number of the chronically ill is rising, the industry is struggling with the constrained health care budget, which impacts spending by pharmaceutical firms. In addition, pressure to fund drugs for rare diseases is also rising.

Would you like to know more about the topic? Read the predictions for life sciences regulation in 2025  or explore the trends that will affect health care in 2019.

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