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Societal impact of CHU Brussels

Impact in terms of services of general economic interest

Public hospitals in Brussels take on with commitment and professionalism a range of services of general economic interest, over and above those of healthcare, research and training.

These services need specific organisation and resources in order to respond to multiple challenges: patients in difficult socio-economic circumstances, insurance problems, linguistic and cultural barriers, and continuation of accessibility to healthcare.

The economic impact, in the form of the specific responsibilities of these services, was measured. It includes, particularly:

  • Responsibilities inherent in the requirement for non-discriminatory accessibility to healthcare for patients, including the most needy;
  • Recovery and waiver of debts induced by the high number of needy patients;
  • Additional needs for social workers and social interpre­ting;
  • Data exchange and payment terms with the CPAS (public social welfare centres);
  • Geographical coverage.

For CHU Brussels the direct economic impact of these servi­ces of general economic interest was estimated in 2016 to be around €31 million.

Providing access to healthcare for the most deprived

Job instability and social exclusion increase inequalities in terms of material access to healthcare. As social assistant in obstetrics at CHU Saint-Pierre, I regularly meet mothers-to-be who, despite their entitlement (urgent or mutual assistance), through unawareness or linguistic barriers, arrive at the hospital without social security at the time of delivery. Identifying the status of patients, informing them and guiding them are essential roles of my job, and this is done in collaboration with the network outside the hospital.