Covid-19 has worsened access to medical services and had a bad impact on the mental health of citizens of OECD affiliates, an organization that brings together highly developed democratic countries. Life expectancy has decreased in as many as 24 out of 30 countries. These are just some of the conclusions from the just-published OECD Health at a Glance 2021 report.
According to its authors, the pandemic caused a 16 percent increase in the number of deaths in 2020 and the first half of this year (compared to the number expected). The healthcare overload of Covid-19 has harmed the availability of medical care for patients not infected with the coronavirus. The report gives an example of the number of breast cancer screening tests that fell by 5 percentage points compared to 2019.
Experts point out that Covid-19 has forced governments and citizens to increase spending on health. Average expenditure on health in OECD countries increased from 8.8 percent GDP in 2019 to 9.7 percent GDP in 2020. The authors of the report emphasize that those countries where the pandemic was extremely violent were spending more generously on health. For example, UK health expenditure increased by 10.2 percent GDP to 12.8 percent, and Slovenia from 8.5 percent up to 10 percent GDP. Compared to other OECD members, Poland is below the average. Indeed, our total expenditure has also increased (from 6.5 percent of GDP to 7.2 percent of GDP), but in the ranking of OECD countries, we are still in this respect only in the fourth ten or, if you prefer, in the seventh spot from the end.