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Major hospitals in Latvia consider themselves transparent

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Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RUReferencing the government’s opinion voiced in the public space about problems with Latvia’s healthcare system, Latvian Association of Large Hospitals (LLSA) objects to such a rhetoric and calls claims unjustified, adding that those are nothing more than a goal to distract society form the true cause of problems.

In an interview to Rietumu Radio, Latvia’s Prime Minister Krišjānis Kariņš said the lack of transparency is one of the largest problems in the country’s healthcare system.

«When promises made by Saeima deputies are left unfulfilled and healthcare workers are actively preparing for protests, it is wrong to divert attention to another direction by making baseless claims,» LLSA believes.

LLSA board chairman Valts Ābols: ‘Such claims from politicians are offensive and demotivating for both doctors and hospital staff. By not fulfilling the increase of wages outlined in the law, politicians have picked the wrong way with this spreading of untrue information about hospital management.’

Read also: Latvian doctors to hold protest of A Day Without Doctor

Ābols believes for many years Children’s Clinical University Hospital, Riga Eastern Clinical University Hospital, P.Stradins Clinical University Hospital have worked hand in hand on improving accountancy processes, tracing and transparency of use of funding while also closely cooperating with Healthcare Ministry and the National Health Service.

Transparency of the use of funding in hospitals is the biggest it has ever been. However, data shows that for years hospitals in Latvia have not been financed in full, ignoring their actual expenditures, says Ābols.

«For example, nearly 70% of the funding provided to the Children’s Hospital is used to pay wages to employees. These wages, by the way, are not competitive. This means the hospital has a large number of vacant jobs. The remaining 30%, however, are completely transparent. Expenditures are the highest in Latvia’s large hospitals because they deal with patients suffering from the most serious diagnoses, treatment costs of which, as well as work intensity for hospital staff is incomparably high when compared to patients with less serious diagnoses,» LLSA continues.

As an example, Ābols mentioned Helsinki Children’s Hospital, the work load of which is comparable to Children’s Clinical University hospital, whereas funding of four to five times larger. ‘Tartu University Clinic is similar to Riga Eastern Clinical University Hospital staff number-wise and workload-wise. However, its budget in 2018 was below that of Tarty Hospital by half. Does this mean Tartu Hospital is two times less efficient with its work?’

Healthcare sector’s allocated funding ratio from GDP is the lowest (3.9%). On top of that, there are plans to reduce it further, whereas the state-defined basket of healthcare services the state has promised to finance for residents as wide, if not wider, than the average in the EU, notes Ābols.

«Additionally, prices of all material values – medication, medical goods, maintenance and cleaning materials, gas, electricity and fuel – in most cases are not lower than those in the EU. Everything mentioned above leads to suffering for our human resources, accessibility and quality of healthcare services. The established system means the state in its position plans for healthcare personnel to experience excessive workload, causing burnout, insufficient wages, long queues and low accessibility of state-financed healthcare,» notes LLSA.


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