Majority of Israelis lack faith in the public health system

60% say they are not fully aware of patient rights

Doctor and patient (illustrative). (photo credit: INGIMAGE)
Doctor and patient (illustrative).
(photo credit: INGIMAGE)
In a poll on the subject of confidence in the health system, 72 percent of a representative group of Israelis said that if they had a serious illness, they are “not sure” that they would receive the best and most effective treatment that exists in the basket of health services.
The survey of 520 people aged 25 and up was carried out by the Midgam company for the Association of Patients’ Rights, which held its annual meeting on Thursday and marked patients’ rights in November. The poll also showed that even though the Health Ministry makes available a significant amount of patient information on its website (especially in Hebrew) and through the Kol Bari (*5400) hotline, over 60% of those who responded said they don’t have enough information on their rights in the health system, and more than half didn’t know where to turn to get medical help from various suppliers.
In addition, more than 80% of responders said they don’t have enough information – or any at all – on the ability to check eligibility for prescription medications included in the basket provided by the health funds. Only a fifth said they have access to “a great deal of information.”
The lower the income of the respondents, the less likely that they are satisfied with the amount of information he had.
More than half said they had too little information from medical teams before having to sign giving their informed consent for medical treatment or surgery, while a quarter maintained that they had no information at all on the topic and were unaware of their right to receive such information.
Those surveyed said they were most likely to turn to their health fund for information, followed by the Internet, while “don’t know” was the third most-frequent reply. Almost half had no idea where to complain about the level of service in their health fund or the Health Ministry, and more than half were unaware that there was a position in the health fund responsible for giving explanations. Respondents were more aware of such a position existing in hospitals.
Seven out of 10 people said they would like their doctors to inform them more about their conditions and rights than they do now.
Association chairman Shmuel Ben-Ya’acov said the survey showed that people are not aware of their rights as patients and do not always take advantage of them when they are entitled to them. The ministry, the health funds and the hospitals must do more to inform the public, he said, and to allocate budgets for this purpose. The results of “the public’s lack of faith in the health system and receiving information on their rights,” said association director Shirli Zilber, “should cause sleepless nights” for decision makers in the system.