On December 20, 2019, the Ministry of Health ("Ministry") published its Strategic Plan for the 2019-2023 period ("Plan"). The Plan sets out the aims and purposes of the strategy in order to achieve the goals determined for the healthcare sector until 2023, specifies key performance indicators, details the preparation process, and provides an analysis of the status quo.

Key performance indicators are laid out in a table that demonstrates an array of data retrieved from the studies, researches and reports of several accredited bodies, such as the Turkish Statistical Institute. The table includes various data in terms of percentages relating to life expectancy, use of tobacco products, low level of physical activity among citizens, customer satisfaction in the healthcare sector, and expenditures made by customers in the healthcare sector outside of the social security system.

In its evaluation of the strategic plan for the term between 2013 and 2017, the Plan indicates that 25% of 117 key performance indicators have been achieved, while the target approach of the indicators has been 46%. The Plan also explains that 29% of the indicators have not been followed, for the reason that the works and projects to be co-executed with Turkey's external stakeholders have not been completed in a timely manner. Within this context, the Ministry also expresses that collaborations with external stakeholders have been re-evaluated and mutually agreed upon in the Plan, having considered the reasons leading to underachievement of the former strategic period's key performance indicators.

The Ministry's legal obligations have been determined within the scope of the legislation analysis that was part of the analysis of the status quo. The Ministry lists all relevant and applicable regulations, beginning at the top of the hierarchy of norms with Article 56 of the Turkish Constitution, then referring to the Ministry's duties, responsibilities and organizational structure re-determined through the Presidential Decree on Presidential Organization No. 1 and No. 4, as a result of the recent change in Turkey's governmental system. Subsequently, the Ministry breaks down its targets, obligations, evaluations and observations thereof as follows:

  • A new set of regulations should be adopted, and some sections of the existing regulations should be aligned with the Presidential Government System.
  • Legislation should be updated to meet the current needs.
  • Duties and authorities of the Ministry should be clarified in order to strengthen collaborative work culture.
  • Regulations that cover the same topics and issues should be identified and merged.
  • Areas of responsibilities in collaborations with stakeholders should be determined clearly and separately.

Lastly, the two main goals of the Plan are specified as follows: (i) ensuring and improving public health, and (ii) ensuring equal public access to quality medical and healthcare services. The Plan sets out the following six strategies in order to achieve these goals:

  • Promoting and popularizing healthy living,
  • Strengthening of primary healthcare services and increasing their efficiency within the healthcare system,
  • Ensuring the accessibility, efficiency and quality of healthcare services,
  • Implementing an integrated healthcare services model,
  • Enhancing customer and healthcare personnel satisfaction and sustainability, and
  • Contributing to the socio-economic development of Turkey and to global health, as well as improving national technology and domestic production in medical sectors.

This article was first published in Legal Insights Quarterly by ELIG Gürkaynak Attorneys-at-Law in March 2020. A link to the full Legal Insight Quarterly may be found here

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