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Saeima decides to divide EUR 8.3 million of healthcare budget funds to finance reforms

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Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RUSaeima’s Budget and Finance Committee has supported the initiative to divide EUR 8.277 million from the planned chronic patient care funding to further finance reforms in the country’s healthcare system.

Things did not go as smoothly in the parliament, however. The budget committee did discuss this matter last week, but because of disagreements it was decided to discuss it later with colleagues from Social and Employment Matters Committee.

On Wednesday, 19 September, deputies held discussions regarding division of funds, procurement of equipment and tariffs in hospitals during the joint meeting. Shortly before the vote, deputy Renārs Putniņš (Unity) announced that he will not support this decision or participate in the vote. He then left the meeting. Because of that, the budget committee did not have enough votes to make a decision. Deputies from Concord participating in the meeting proposed waiting for their colleague Igors Pimenovs (C) to meet the necessary quota.

Pimenovs works in the budget committee. However, he was not present for the Wednesday’s meeting. When Pimenovs arrived, deputies were able to vote and supported division of healthcare budget finances.

Putniņš had previously criticized Healthcare Ministry’s planned division of funds. He said that the ministry wants to push the decision regarding division of finances quickly, whereas this situation only serves to question the ministry’s budget planning. The deputy also said that the majority of funding is planned to be used for procurement of equipment for the needs of Riga Eastern Clinical University Hospital. It is also important to discuss the matter regarding treatment of patients suffering from chronic diseases.

During the previous meeting, several institutions had arguments against this proposal. Former State Revenue Service and Healthcare Employers’ Association’s CEO Ināra Pētersone mentioned during the government’s meeting that she does not support allocation of funding in the form of grants, adding that she believes work should be performed on reviewing tariffs of healthcare services.

Jānis Birks, chairman of Latvian Marine Medical Center, said he does not support division of funds, because there is already deficit of funding for treatment of patients suffering from chronic diseases. He also mentioned specialists are unable to provide services for lower tariffs. In addition, he, similar to Pētersone, does not support the proposal to provide funding for equipment procurement to a single hospital.

Riga Eastern Clinical University Hospital’s Urology Clinic’s head Vilnis Lietuvietis stressed that the hospital is in dire need of new equipment.

Healthcare Ministry explained that it is planned to save money from funding intended for treatment of patients suffering from chronic diseases, which was initially set at EUR 10,995,930. The remaining funds are proposed to be used to finance ongoing healthcare reforms.


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