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OECD Reviews of Health Care Quality: Turkey 2014

Raising Standards

image of OECD Reviews of Health Care Quality: Turkey 2014

Turkey underwent a very ambitious reform programme  in 2003, the so-called "Health Transformation Programme". Access to healthcare in Turkey has greatly increased with the attainment of Universal Health Coverage, as also demonstrated by improvement in health outcomes, most notably around maternal and child health and infectious diseases. However, despite these significant achievements, Turkey has a significant way to travel to deliver high-quality health services to its population. Governance of the health system is highly centralised and typified by directive control from the Ministry of Health, and information collected in different part of the system is not always fully exploited.

The OECD Review of Health Care Quality in Turkey recommends a number of changes to address these shortcomings. The key recommendations are that: i) Turkey needs to develop robust systems to standardise and monitor the quality of care, encourage continuous professional development and incorporate patient views; ii) some loosening of the governance structure would be welcome, to allow regions greater flexibility to assess and respond to local health needs and to continue to provide health workers with incentives for improve quality; iii) data on health sector activity and outcomes need to be made more available and more usable for individual patients and clinicians, while greater effort is needed to increase the robustness of Turkey’s information systems at national level and harmonise performance measures to OECD and other international comparators.

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Improving hospital care in Turkey

Like other OECD countries, Turkey is grappling with the challenge of improving the quality of hospital care in a context of rising hospital activity and a diversified hospital sector. Over the past ten years, the Turkish hospital sector, and particularly private hospitals, have experienced one of the strongest growths in activity across OECD countries. This followed the successful attainment of universal health coverage, as well as reforms that encouraged hospital productivity. As a complement to the discussion on hospitals in Chapter 1, this chapter focuses principally on the diversity of the structure of the hospital sector, including the significant role that private hospitals are coming to play, and how to drive improvement for the sector as a whole. The chapter starts by describing the Turkish hospital system, its structure, and development. It then considers way to strengthen quality governance in the sector. The chapter finishes by suggesting the need for a shift from a focus on productivity to a focus on keeping people out of hospitals in the first place.

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