Nearest available appointment? Six weeks from now. That is what people in the Czech Republic often hear when they realize they can no longer deal with their problems on their own. If they need antidepressants or other forms of treatment, they need to sit down and talk with a psychiatrist. In certain counties of the South Moravian Region there is only one or two private shrinks.
People from all over the region often have to travel all the way to Brno, as the capital of the region where the chance to see a shrink within an acceptable period of time is bigger. People complain that there are dozens of life coaches and teambuilding experts who seem to have noticed the demand for their services, but the same cannot be said about psychiatrists. It is understandable because shrinks and their services are a part of the public health insurance system.
According to psychiatrists I interviewed, people live longer so the incidence of illnesses associated with their age is higher, i.e. many patients must be treated because they really need it, not because they decide themselves that they should actively seek the services of a shrink. Several doctors said that if these people feel that they cannot wait for six months they can visit a crisis centre.
Health insurance companies regularly evaluate the general availability and accessibility of these services. Should a health insurance company conclude that it can establish a contractual relationship with a new psychiatrist, it should not take long. On the other hand, however, health insurance companies have certain limits when it comes to healthcare they cover.
Young MD graduates are interested in this field of medicine. Even experienced psychiatrists admit that they have no problem with potential new colleagues. “Institutions do not have enough money for them, i.e. they are not motivated to hire them. And they cannot open their private practice until they have been granted their attestation. So it is a vicious circle,” one famous psychiatrist told me.
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