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Western Europe and the former Eastern bloc: How to maximise potential through collaboration

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)45-48
Number of pages4
JournalBridging Eastern and Western Psychiatry
Volume3
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2005

King's Authors

Abstract

In Eastern Europe, political freedom, has brought economic problems for patients and health workers. Previously, mental health policies were decided centrally. This system was rigid, but some funding was ensured for hospitals and salaries. Now, in some cases there is a decrease in the quality of health care because of financial constraints although there are often more health professionals than in the west. There is a need to improve the physical infrastructure of hospitals, information flow has to be improved and low salaries for health professionals need to be addressed. There is also a need to improve training. Perceived hierarchical structures in Health Care and Academic Institutions can lead to some misuse of junior staff, to a sense of entitlement in their seniors and to concentration of funds in too few hands. Lack of funding for research and salaries raises the possibility that healthcare companies might exert excessive influence. Problems will not disappear overnight but there could be EU initiatives directed towards: 1) Provision of research funding that requires inclusion of an eastern bloc group. 2) Training Fellowships to allow junior staff to make a series of visits to western Institutions but designed to encourage recipients to promote developments in their native country. 3) Initiatives to change management structures in mental health. These proposals require governmental interventions, but it is possible that at an individual level some progress can also be made: some options are discussed.

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