Expatica news

Belgian health system ‘failing foreigners’

14 July 2004

BRUSSELS – Thousands of foreigners in Belgium are going without essential medical care because they find the country’s health system too confusing, it was reported on Wednesday.

Medical charity Medecins Sans Frontiers (MSF) said it is seeing more and more patients at its drop-in centres in Belgium because people say they simply cannot deal with all of the red tape that goes with a hospital visit.

MSF said its doctors treated around 10,000 people in 2003 and that 96 percent of those patients were foreigners.

This situation shows that the Belgian health system is failing an entire section of the population, MSF argued.

Under Belgian law anyone living in Belgium has the right to health care, even if they are in the country illegally.

But MSF argued that in reality bureaucracy and red tape shuts out many of the country’s poorest and most disadvantaged inhabitants.

[Copyright Expatica 2004]

Subject: Belgian news