2017 OECD Economic Surveys: Slovak Republic 2017

image of OECD Economic Surveys: Slovak Republic 2017

Slovakia’s economy continues to perform extremely well both in terms of macroeconomic outcomes and public finances. Employment is rising, prices have been stable, and the external account is near balance. Poverty and income inequality are low, and the country’s environmental footprint has improved markedly. However, population ageing, projected to be one of the steepest in the OECD on the basis of the expected change in the old-age dependency ratio, will pose policy and social challenges in the decades ahead. They will be compounded by the persistent emigration of young, particularly educated people, as well as the weak integration of the numerous Roma. Other concerns are the work disincentives faced by women and high long-term unemployment. Widely different labour market outcomes between Bratislava and the eastern part of the country also contribute to large regional per capita GDP gaps and a dual functioning of the economy. The authorities have continued their reform process over the last few years to address these issues, which require improving public-sector efficiency. Making growth more inclusive for the Roma, women and the chronically unemployed will require further reforms in education, health care and the labour market, along with better infrastructure.


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Improving the efficiency and outcomes of the Slovak health-care system

Despite improvements over the past few decades, Slovak health outcomes remain poor compared with most other OECD countries, even after controlling for differences in per capita income and other social, cultural and lifestyle factors. Disparities in access to care and health outcomes between the Roma and the rest of the population are large. Moreover, the health-care system is a source of general discontent because of high out-of-pocket payments, long waiting lists for some medical services and widely perceived mismanagement of public health-care spending. Health-care spending is currently about in line with the country’s standard of living. However, improving the efficiency of this sector is key: meeting the rising demand for medical services in the coming decades while containing government spending to maintain sound public finances will be challenging. The most pressing issues to be addressed concern: enhancing the efficiency and quality of primary care; addressing the shortage of nurses and replacing the large number of retiring physicians; modernising hospital infrastructure and management; further tightening control over pharmaceutical and other ancillary spending; developing a comprehensive strategy for long-term care; promoting better care access for the Roma population; and improving lifestyles through well-designed public health and disease-prevention policies.



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