Authors: Surdu O (1,2) , Surdu TV (2) , Surdu M (2,3)
(1) Techirghiol Balnear and Rehabilitation Sanatorium (2) Ovidius University of Constanta, Faculty of Medicine (3) Clinical Emergency Hospital „St Apostle Andrew
Source: Balneo Research Journal
DOI: 10.12680/balneo.2015.1092 Publication date: Not specified E-Publication date: 2015 May Availability: full text Copyright: Not specified
Language: English Countries: Not specified Location: Not specified Correspondence address: Not specified


Article content

Romania owns almost 30% of European natural resources for balneotherapy/health resort medicine consisting in climate (relief, hydrology and vegetation, including salt mines and caves microclimate), mineral/thermal waters (for bathing and drinking cure), mud/peat and gases. Climate is temperate continental with four distinct seasons. The average annual temperature is 11°C (52°F) in the south and 8°C (46°F) in the north. Precipitation levels are over 750 mm/year with regional variation, for example in the south-central parts levels are around 600 mm/year and in the Danube Delta, rainfall levels are very low-around 370 mm/year. Romanian relief is distributed roughly equally between mountainous, hilly and lowland territories. Disposure of relief is enriched by an enormous number of springs and specific vegetation. Romania has different types of mineral/thermal waters: oligomineralized, alkaline, salty, sulfurous, magnesium, metallic, thermal waters, all of them with different chemical composition. Mineral or thermal water are used for drinking cure, bathing cure, aerosols, and gynecological applications1 . Mud is one element of nature having immense impact on the human body in health as well as in sickness. Mud is made from substances formed in natural conditions under the influence of geological processes and which in smoothly divided state and in mixture with water are used in medical practice as mud bath or local procedures. (ISMH). Some of the healing effects of the mud are known empirically from the antiquity, others have been described and studied recenty, others have remained even today at the stage of sumarry explanation. Gases are represented by emanation of dry carbon dioxide named mofeta and of hydrogen sulphide named sulphatarium used for vascular and condroprotectiv effects2 . Balneoclimatology is a part of medical specialisation in rehabilitation and physical medicine. Admission in specialisation is made after a national contest and education lasts four years. Rehabilitation using natural therapeutic factors is equaly: traditional and contemporary. After 1990, Romania inherited a health system funded by state, type Semashko, the decision-making process was completely centralized, with no 86  separation between the beneficiary and provider3 . Despite numerous reform efforts, developments were slow and still are an ongoing process. Key actors in the balneotherapy field are: ► The Ministry of Health (MS); ► National Health Insurance House (CNAS); ► 3. National House of Pensions and Other Social Insurance Rights (CNPAS). For the medical tourism sector, main actors are: } The Ministry of Regional Development and Tourism (MDRT); } Organisations and associations involved in tourism activity, such as: Romanian Organization of Spa Owners (OPTBR), National Association of Tourism Agencies (ANAT); Trade Unions (Sindromania) Key actors in medical balneotherapy field 1. Ministry of Health In Romanian health system, Ministry of Health, is the authority for strategy, regulation, monitoring and control. Ministry of Health has subordinated forty - two decentralized public health authorities, county ambulance services and other institutions4 . Among them are the National Agency for Medicines and Medical Devices and National Public Health Institute. In addition, Ministry of Health coordinates research and development institutions, of which the National Institute of Rehabilitation, Physical Medicine and Balneology is the metodological forum in the field. Moreover, a number of over 60 health units are directly under the authority of Ministry of Health. Most of them are hospitals, some among the highest in the country (eg, Techirghiol Balneal and Rehabilitation Sanatorium). 2. National Health Insurance House (CNAS) National Health Insurance House assures unified and coordinated operation of national social health insurance system and the management of Unic National Fund of Health Insurance (FNUASS). It has 42 subordinate county health insurance houses and collaborates with Health Insurance House of the Ministry of Defence (OPSNAJ) and Health Insurance House of the Ministry of Transport5 . Framework Agreement and its implementing rules establishes for each year medical services provided to policy holders and settled in the contractual relations between CNAS and service providers at all levels. Balneal rehabilitation services are financed up to 70% by the National Health Insurence House (standard condition of accomodation, meal and treatment), from FNUASS. 3. National House of Pensions and Other Social Insurance Rights has the mission to administrate the public founds of pensions, work acidents and profesional diseases6 . From these public founds are supported medical balneal activities of rehabilitation of retired peoples, after work accidents and professional diseases. The National House of Pensions and The Ministry of Health own 20% of buildings patrimony and facilities for balneotherapy in different locations and they complete the needs by public auction from the privat owners. Key actors in tourism sector a. The Ministry of Regional Development and Tourism (MDRT) has the strategic planning function of products and turism destinations (including balneal products and destinations)7 . b. Organization of Spa Owners (OPTBR), National Association of Tourism Agencies (ANAT), Trade Unions (Sindromania) own facilities for balneotherapy.  Romanian Balneal Patrimony Romanian balneal patrimony included in 2009 160 spa entities from witch 100 are registered in “Health/Spa Resort Register ” edited by “Ministry of Regional Development and Tourism” after the authorization of natural factors and methodology of using them made by “National Institute of Rehabilitation and Physical Medicine” and the number increases every year. Recently the MDRT licensed at European standards 11 localities as balneal resort and are in progress to obtain this license other 10 localities. In 2011 were 4850 beds in city hospitals and balneal sanatorium for Rehabilitation, Physical Medicine and Balneology and 463 beds for NeuroPsycho-Motor rehabilitation. Infrastructure of resorts consists in 3 types of buildings/facilities for cure: hotels from 19th century, hotels from second part of 20th century and new spa complexes developed in last years. Most of them, 80% of patrimony, belong to the private owners (OPBTR, ANAT, Sindromania), and the rest of 20% of patrimony is public property of Health Ministry and Pension Found8 . Strategy for Development For a correct direction of development is important to reestablish the reliability in health tourism and upsurge relationship between output product and market requirement. For the opening up of balneal tourism is needed to choose one or more positions on the market, to define the strategy to be applied to each combination market/product and to define the way of financing the activity (public/private). Starting with 2008 year the Ministry of Regional Development and Tourism realized SWOT analysis (table 1) in order to establish the strategy of the future. According to the evaluation made by Ministry of Regional Development and Tourism, the health tourism market includes: medical tourism (surgery, esthetic), balneal tourism (more preventive), thalassotherapy, hydrotherapy, wellness and/or spa, fitness and diverse training. The market's trend of the health tourism is increasing in corelation with demographic evolution and asks products as: antiageing cure, esthetic medicine. Rehabilitation segment of the market is also increasing, but in urban neighborhood and linked to the business tourism. (table 2) Taking into account the existing conditions and requirements, the department of strategy from the Ministry of Regional Development and Tourism synthetizes the master plans for the next three years8 . (table 3) The marketing concepts must be reevaluated and applied properly to each region. 1. Thermal city concept means public/private treatment base, medical supervised, having water (tap or thermo/mineral) for treatment and leisure, completed with cosmetic products and/or drinking waters. This marketing concept may be applied: around Bucharest, Black Sea shore, Bucovina, and Transilvania regions. 2. Antiaging resorts concept need: clinic/hotel, having all devices for thalassotherapy and/or natural medical product from plants/herbes, mineral waters and mud including Gerovital H3, traditionally located on the Black Sea shore. 3. Wellness and spa concept is the newest direction of development that generally doesn’t need accommodation, is private financed, is targeted to: relaxation, leisure, short time cure and is developed in urban centers for active peoples. 4 Classical balneotherapy concept refers to traditional using of natural therapeutic factors. Facilities having this destination must be improved at the level of comfort and diversified medical activities. The European Directive from April 23th 2009 about reimbursement and subvention of  transfrontalier medical services (treatments) is a good opportunity for giving plus value of Romanian tradition and experience in balneotherapy. Due to the current social transformation: hard work, long time of activity and short time for resting, the duration of cure decreased up to 7,5 - 8 days and many peoples practice the weekend cure, one week cure or other type of short time treatment applied in location named spa: spa resort, spa hotel, spa Centrum, etc. Such short duration of cure is not adequate for balneotherapy. For the purpose of medical use, balneal products/activities will take places in regions national and/or international known, with important potential for balneal tourism development (mineral/thermal waters, mud), where the demand for balneal products (antiageing, weight loss, antistress, etc) is significant for the national and international market. In these conditions the tasks of Ministry of Health, for goals achievements are9 : 1. improvement of medical/sanitary rules at European standards for activity in balneal resort; 2. to promote CME addressed to general physicians about indications and contraindications of balneal medicine (criteria of sending patients); 3. to increase number of qualifications and of specialists in balneal medicine, for thalassotherapy, wellness and spa; 4. to promote the medical values of natural resources for branding Romanian balneal resorts; 5. to organize cluster for slow and nice aging in order to settle Romanian resorts on antiageing type. Both actors performing in medical balneal tourism need to work together for a common future. In the medical field is needed more elasticity to offer both medical and wellness programs and more cooperation to the master plan made by tourism actors. The tourism actors must be involved into the opening up of balneal/thermal patrimony because research in balneology and balneal medicine means high costs for discovery, characterize and maintaining in exploitation the resource. The economic and political leaders will help this collaboration and cooperation if the actors make themselves heard in this polyphony of balneal medical tourism. Reference 1. Teleki N, Munteanu L. Spa Tourism in Romania. Bucharest, Royal Company, 2012 2. Berlescu E. Enciclopedia de balneoclimatologie a României, Bucureti, All, 1998 3. Crisis and reform in health system. A radiograph up to date. Report on health system 2010. Romanian Academic Society.2010 4. Law no.95 of 14 April 2006 with regard to reform in the public health area 5. Law no 145 of 24 July 1997 with regard to social health insurence as amended and supplemented 6. Law no.19 of 17/03/2000 on the public system of pensions and other social security rights 7. Government Decision 1631 of 29 December 2009 with regard to function and organization of Ministry of Regional Development and Tourism Emergency Ordinance 115/2009 8. Spa tourism development master plan: trategii/masterplan_turism_balnear.pdf 9. Three-years action plan: trategii/masterplan_turism_balnearpdf

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