A new study obtained prior to release by the Czech news agency, suggests that in terms of structure psychiatric institutional care in the Czech Republic most resembles systems in the former Soviet Union and the Balkans, setting it apart from current practices in western Europe, where the trend has been towards community care and other support systems. The study was conducted by specialists from the Prague Psychiatric Centre: care across 30 European countries was examined.
In Italy, for example, many mental hospitals were closed or reduced in size. In the Czech Republic similar steps could only be taken following the introduction of alternative systems to prevent the mentally ill from ending up on the street or in prison, specialists suggested. Currently, Czech psychiatry receives 3.5 percent of the annual healthcare budget; that is to be boosted to five percent after reforms are introduced. The European average is eight.
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