Healthcare in Croatia
The healthcare system in Croatia is controlled centrally. The state owns hospitals and the county governments own the medical centres. The Minister of Health has a wide brief. He is responsible for legislation, the annual national health plan, monitoring health status and health care needs, modifying standards in healthcare facilities, supervising training, hygiene inspections, setting the quality of food and drugs and educating the nation in healthcare.
Patients are free to register with the doctor of their choice. GP’s operate like private doctors within the Croatian healthcare system and they often ask for cash up front before giving treatment. GP’s in Croatia are more experienced in trauma and emergency care than their western counterparts and only a third are experienced in general practice.
Every municipality has a health centre plus a network of primary health care units. Health centres give general care to the whole of the municipalities’ population, gynaecology and dental care. In addition, they are bound to provide people with emergency treatment, diagnostic services and health education. Remote rural health centres also offer specialist outpatient care, which is supervised by a hospital. Some also provide maternity and short-term inpatient facilities.
Hospitals are located in all major cities and towns. They are mainly financed through contracts with the Croatian Health Insurance Institute. Hospitals are categorised into general and specialist hospitals. Both types of hospital have outpatient facilities.
General hospitals provide care and treatment for obstetrics and gynaecology, internal medicine, surgery and inpatient care for children.
Specialist hospitals provide treatment and inpatient care for specific disease and chronic illness.
Polyclinics provide specialist consultations, diagnostic and rehabilitation services. They are linked to general hospitals. Private polyclinics are growing. Patients need a doctor’s referral to the polyclinic.