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Monday 22.07.2019 | Name days: Marija, Marika, Marina

Latvian medical personnel hope for funding increase despite prime minister’s criticisms

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Chairman of Latvian Health and Social Care Workers Union Valdis Keris

It is very important for funding of Latvia’s healthcare to increase, especially in the segment of doctors’ wages, said chairman of Latvian Health and Social Care Workers Union (LVSADA) Valdis Keris.

According to him, Prime Minister’s Krišjānis Kariņš’s statements in regards to lack of efficiency of the country’s healthcare may be associated with the fact that he lacks information regarding healthcare in Latvia.

He said a person cannot be a specialist in all areas. This is why the prime minister needs advisors that would explain to him the situation in healthcare. The prime minister’s words in regards to lack of efficiency, Keris, said the prime minister’s advisors were not on top of things.

Keris said that accusations of inefficiency require objective proof. However, no one has presented any facts to prove the industry’s inefficiency. LVSADA’s chief admits it is not always possible to improve work processes. However, without proof, talk about inefficiency «is an empty political mantra meant to prevent the increase of funding for the industry». Keris adds he had seen such tactics in the past.

The prime minister has publicly said there are too many hospitals in Latvia. Keris, on the other hand, notes it is important to keep in mind that in the crisis years the healthcare industry was cut to the bone, taking away funding and reducing healthcare infrastructure in the process. This, according to Keris, caused both a decline of workers and service accessibility for patients.

Keris said during the crisis Latvia did have more hospitals than the average in the European region. This is why the trade union did not protest during the hospital optimization period even though changes were painful. At the same time, talks about reducing the number of hospitals, according to Keris, represent lack of information.

Commenting on the prime minister’s concerns about allocated funding reaching doctors, Keris said – doctors have received the money. He adds, however, the increase was not equal to the promised 20% as it was publicly promised. This, however, is related to the fact that many healthcare institutions paid their doctors more than what is required by Cabinet of Ministers requirements to attract human resources.

As it is known, the prime minister is certain that not all money allocated to healthcare industry is being used effectively at the moment, stressing that he expects an action plan from the ministry in relation to the industry.

In an interview to public broadcaster LTV programme Rīta panorama, the prime minister said he has looked through the report from the State Audit in regards to human resources in healthcare, admitting he is not happy with it.

He stressed that the government has commenced large-scale reforms in relation to division of municipalities and the education system. According him, the third part of this puzzle is the topic about healthcare industry. «It is one thing to say there is a shortage of funds, but I am confident I am not the only one who believes the money is being inefficiently,» he said.

According to the prime minister, one important topic in relation to hospitals is that the reform will help improve their function and increase their efficiency. He rhetorically asked if all buildings called hospitals but do not provide first aid can be called hospitals.

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  1. Zerry says:

    Most likely Mr. Prime minister is right. In many sectors the efficiency thing is a big problem in Latvia. Easy to believe that also in medical sector.

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