Turkey's residents consulted with physicians some 782,515,204 times in 2018, which is almost 10 times the population of the country, revealed a report by General Health-Labor Union of Turkey (Genel Sağlık-İş).
The Genel Sağlık-İş report, based on the late-published "Health Statistics Yearbook 2018" by the Health Ministry, also revealed that the number of total physician consultations had increased by about 64 million from 2017.
'Patients go directly to the hospital for the smallest issues'
Patients go to second and third tier health institutions at a rate of 66 percent, instead of first tier health institutions like community clinics.
Second-tier health organizations include public hospitals that aren't research or training hospitals, specialty hospitals and social security hospitals; the third tier includes research and training hospitals, specialty hospitals and university hospitals.
"The numbers show that unlike the government's claims, first tier health institutions don't satisfy patient's needs," the report said. "Patients go directly to the hospital for the smallest issues since patients aren't treated as needed."
Demand for private hospitals grows 1300 percent in AKP rule
Some 74,675,065 consultations have been made with private hospitals in 2018.
This number was a mere 5,697,170 in 2002 when the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) was elected. Since then, this number has grown 13-fold.
There have been 1,531,822 operations conducted in private hospitals in 2018, a number that was 218,837 in 2002.
A gap in the supply and demand of healthcare professionals
The total number of physicians increased slightly to 153,128 in 2018, from 149,997 in 2017.
The number of total health staff also grew, reaching 1,016,401 in 2018.
Turkey came in last in an OECD ranking of physicians per capita with 187 physicians per 100,000 people. The nurse and midwife per capita in Turkey is 301 professionals per 100,000 people.
The 64 million-growth in physician consultations has caused the physician-per-capita gap in Turkey to grow, said Genel Sağlık-İş’ report.
"They are displaying their own failure"
Turkey's Health Ministry's data on the healthcare industry simply reveals the failure of public health policies, said Genel Sağlık-İş Chair Zekiye Bacaksız.
"While the number of hospital consultations is growing exponentially, the gap between the demand and supply of healthcare professionals is growing," Bacaksız said.
The demand for public hospitals has become 13 times what it was at the start of the AKP government, Bacaksız noted, adding that the people have been stripped of their right to fair, free, accessible and quality healthcare.
"We have moved away from a social government ideology and have been imposed a system where only the rich can receive healthcare."