- Bosnia and Herzegovina
- All Balkan Countries
Patients in state hospitals will have to pay a little money for their treatment from March onwards, though not all the details have been ironed out.
Cash-strapped hospitals in Romania will get some more funds following the introduction of small fees for patients, but officials are still arguing over whether the fee should be paid once, or for every day of treatment.
“The sum will be very small, of around 10 lei (2.3 euro) and will be paid not for medical tests, not for emergency cases, just for those who are hospitalized. Anyway, we still have to decide how the sum is to be paid,” the Prime Minister, Victor Ponta, said on Tuesday.
The fee, which will be introduced from March, is part part of an agreement with the IMF to reduce spending in the state health sector.
Doctors welcome the move. “This measure will not resolve ongoing problems. But any money, even small amounts, are welcome,” Dana Safta, a doctor in a Bucharest hospital, said.
In a related development, early this month the government announced that money paid to private hospitals for certain services will be re-allocated for use in the state health sector in future.
Healthcare expenditure in Romania consumes around 6 per cent of GDP, almost half the EU average. Spending per citizen amounted to 700 euro in 2010, while wealthy Luxembourg, The Netherlands and Austria, spent close to 4,000 euro per capita.
Romania has been struggling to reform its public health sector, which has fallen into growing problems as a result of years of underinvestment. Hospitals are understaffed and are short of specialists and modern equipment.
Low pay in the health sector and the government’s apparent unwillingness to carry out changes are blamed for an exodus of doctors and nurses.
The average salary of a junior doctor in Romania is around 300 euro a month. A similarly qualified doctor working in Britain, for example, can expect to earn many times that figure.
Polls show that over 90 per cent of Romanians are unhappy with the services provided by the public health system.
Many blame problems in the system on inefficient management, while 42 per cent believe that insufficient financing is to blame.
Powerful businessman who made a fortune in sugar is among pre-qualified bidders for Kosovo’s ambitious planned ski resort.