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STADA Health Report 2022
08. July 2022.
  • Self-assessed burnout rates at all-time high; stress levels have increased; more than one in three are struggling with sleep; appreciation for healthcare systems decreases after Covid high
  • STADA Health Report 2022: Representative survey with roughly 30,000 respondents in 15 European countries reveals latest trends of health perception among the general population
  • ‘Through the STADA Health Report, we aim to provide scientifically verified data to stimulate debates around healthcare trends and needed actions to further support the invaluable work done every day by our trusted partners, be they physicians, hospitals, governments pharmacists, for patients’, says Peter Goldschmidt, CEO of STADA.
Decreasing satisfaction with services provided by national healthcare systems; one in six Europeans feeling on the verge of burning out; stress levels on the rise; declining quality of sleep; difficulties getting doctors’ appointments. In many ways, Europe appears to be on the brink of a health crisis. On the other hand, more than half of Europeans are now looking to eat more healthily, and around a third are willing to take supplements to support their diets. The majority still regard their mental health as good, and three in five Europeans feel their country’s health system performed well through the strains of the pandemic.

These are just a few of the insights gleaned through the STADA Health Report, which as a pan-European survey enters its fourth year, two of which have been largely overshadowed by Covid-19. The 2021 survey offered a momentary snapshot into the thoughts and feelings of Europeans one year into the pandemic. With the initial turmoil surrounding lockdowns and mandatory mask wearing having died down, the STADA Health Report 2022 survey of around 30,000 Europeans across 15 countries brings to light some of the underlying implications of this trying time for healthcare systems across the continent.

European mental health on the decline

Mental health challenges amid the strains of modern life are not new. But it appears that the challenges of the past two years during the pandemic are taking their toll on European’s emotional wellbeing.

In the STADA Health Report 2022, the self-assessed burnout level – those who have experienced such feelings, or believe they are on the verge of burning out – has reached an all-time high of 59 percent on average; an increase of 5 percentage points compared to last year. People in Eastern European countries feel particularly susceptible to burnout: In Poland, 70 percent say they have experienced feelings of burnout at least once in their lifetime. Generally speaking, women (65 percent) are more likely to feel at risk of burnout than men (53 percent). Age-wise, Europeans aged between 25 and 34 are the most vulnerable group (72 percent).

As for their general mental well-being, almost one in three Europeans (29 percent) have reported a decline, with people in Austria (37 percent), Italy (35 percent) and Portugal (35 percent) particularly afflicted. Nevertheless, a majority of Europeans (57 percent) assess their own mental health as “good”, with just over one in ten (11 percent) describing their mental health as “poor”. When asked with whom they would speak about their mental health, more than half of Belgians (52 percent) identified their general practitioner, while a similar proportion of Austrians (51 percent) mentioned their partner.

Stress levels have also increased across the board: 37 percent maintain that they have felt increasingly stressed since the beginning of the pandemic. In 2021, this figure was at 25 percent. This year, adults in Italy, Portugal, Romania and Spain were most likely to report greater stress, while people in France, Germany, the Netherlands and Switzerland were the least affected. Indeed, one in 10 people in France and Switzerland, along with 12 percent of UK adults, reported that their stress levels had actually improved during the pandemic.

With stress and burnout on the rise, no wonder, then, that many Europeans sleep poorly on top of it as well: The share of people reporting trouble sleeping through the night has increased by 15 percent over the past 12 months – today, 35 percent are struggling to get a full night’s rest. Poor quality of sleep is particularly a problem in France, Italy, Spain and the UK, while Kazakhstan, the Netherlands, Serbia and Switzerland lead in terms of getting a good night’s sleep.

Satisfaction with healthcare systems continues to wane

The past two years have not only been hard on the European population, but especially their healthcare systems. Still it seems that two years into the pandemic, few Europeans have patience left to spare. In recent years, the satisfaction with healthcare systems has declined by a staggering 14 percent overall – from 78 percent in 2020, and 74 in 2021, to 64 percent in 2022.

More than a third of people in the Czech Republic, Romania and Italy said they had postponed or cancelled doctors’ appointments due to fear of infection during the pandemic; while obtaining an appointment to see a general practitioner was reported as challenging in several countries.

‘Through the STADA Health Report, we aim to provide scientifically verified data to stimulate debates around healthcare trends and needed actions to further support the invaluable work done every day by our trusted partners, be they physicians, hospitals, governments pharmacists, for patients’, says Peter Goldschmidt, CEO of STADA.

The pharmacy of the future: combining the best of two worlds

The STADA Health Report 2022 shows that Europeans remain faithful to community pharmacies, despite growing competition from online sources. In fact, more than one in two (56 percent) physically visit a pharmacy at least once a month, 27 percent of which even go several times each month, if not weekly. Considering that pharmacists are regarded as one of the most trustworthy sources of health-related information (57 percent), this may come as no surprise: To this day, individual counselling remains an integral and much-appreciated service. It also comes up as the major requirement when Europeans are asked about their idea of the ideal pharmacy with 35 percent describing personal interaction with pharmacy personnel as a must-have feature. Individual counselling is closely followed by the opportunity to order medication online from their community pharmacy (33 percent). The results of the Health Report thus suggest that, looking forward, a major quest for pharmacies might be finding ways of combining individual, in-person care and counsel with the convenience of the digital age.

‘Caring for People’s Health as a Trusted Partner requires us to share and discuss these insights with pharmacists and all our other healthcare stakeholders throughout Europe, and thereby contributing to strengthening patients’ access to high-quality healthcare’, Goldschmidt concluded.