Examination, diagnosis, cure and rehabilitation of the general public are included in the responsibilities of the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare. However, other ministries, state economic enterprises (most of which are to be shut down or privatized) medical schools and some private sector agencies, also help to perform these services.General practitioner services, although planned, have not started in Turkey yet. Therefore when somebody becomes ill, first he must see a doctor in an infirmary or the health department at his work place if there is one. If necessary they are then sent to a hospital. Children and housewives of working people or retired people can only go to hospitals directly without any previous visits or referrals from an infirmary or a health department.
In order to obtain the medicine prescribed, retired people have to pay 10% and others 20% of the list price. The rest of the amount is covered by social insurance institutions.
In the first years of the Turkish Republic, there were 3 hospitals with a total bed capacity of 950. The number of state hospitals rose to 941 with a total bed capacity of 139,600 (1991).
The number of persons per bed is 411, per doctor 1108 and per dentist 5,336.
More than half of the doctors in Turkey are specialists and 40% of them work in the public sector.
1. Public Hospitals
a) State Hospitals
Members of the Retirement Trust and Bag-Kur and their families can utilize these hospitals.
b) Social Insurance Board Hospitals
Members of this board are employed contributors, who along with their families, benefit from this scheme.
2. University Hospitals
These are possibly the hospitals of the highest standard in Turkey. The people who use these hospitals are members of the Retirement Trust, patients transferred by another hospital or any direct any direct private patient provided that the services received are paid for.
3. Hospitals of State Economic Enterprises
These hospitals belong to state enterprises such as PTT (Post, Telephone & Telegram), DDY (State Railways) or are akin to various professions such as Military hospitals, Teachers’ hospitals and Police hospitals. The facilities of these hospitals are used by members of the given professions and their families.
4. Private Hospitals
These vary widely in standard and are generally found in the major cities where the income levels of some people enable them to afford private medical care. Some of these private hospitals are internationally recognized for their high standards.
The number of known people who have AIDS in Turkey is about 484 (October, 1995). Out of these people only 20 of them are women. The recorded number of people who have died because of AIDS is only 60. However, it is also estimated that there are about 300 people in Turkey who are “carriers” of the AIDS virus.