Hospital medical care and the COVID-19 mortality in METEOR partner countries (the Netherlands, Belgium, Italy, And Poland)
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The Medical University of Silesia in Katowice, Katowice, Poland (Department of Epidemiology, School of Medical Sciences in Katowice)
Spaarne Gasthuis, Haarlem and Hoofddorp, The Netherlands (Department of Pediatrics)
KU Leuven, Leuven, Belgium (Leuven Child and Health Institute)
KU Leuven, Leuven, Belgium (Department of Development and Regeneration)
KU Leuven, Leuven, Belgium (Centre for Environment and Health)
IDEWE, External Service for Prevention and Protection at Work, Leuven, Belgium
Online publication date: 2023-08-28
Corresponding author
Szymon Szemik   

The Medical University of Silesia in Katowice, Department of Epidemiology, School of Medical Sciences in Katowice, Medyków 18, 40-752 Katowice, Poland
Int J Occup Med Environ Health. 2023;36(3):417-27
Objectives: Healthcare systems in European countries, including METEOR partner countries, are faced with the aging population, an increase in costs for innovative technologies and medication, a shortage of health professionals, and inequality in access to healthcare. Presented paper aimed to recognize and compare the functioning of healthcare systems between METEOR partner countries and simultaneously check if the current epidemiological situation of COVID-19 has some relationship with the number of medical staff, yearly gross domestic product, or documented percentage of fully vaccinated people. Material and Methods: In the model of descriptive epidemiological study, available demographic, socioeconomic, and healthcare organizational data in the Netherlands, Belgium, Italy, and Poland were compared to the epidemiological situation of the COVID-19 pandemic (percentage of fully vaccinated people, incidence, and mortality) in all mentioned countries. Results: Obtained data confirmed that the lowest number of physicians, as well as the life expectancy and gross domestic product per capita, is in Poland. Simultaneously, the lower number of medical staff and lower gross domestic product (GDP) correspond to higher mortality due to COVID-19. The percentage of fully vaccinated with the last dose of the primary series was also the lowest in Poland. Conclusions: Obtained results confirmed that higher mortality due to COVID-19 in METEOR participants’ countries is related to a lower number of medical staff and weaker GDP. The worse situation was noted in Poland, a country with problems in the functioning healthcare system, including hospital care and a serious shortage of practicing medical staff. Int J Occup Med Environ Health. 2023;36(3):417–27
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