Health and Social Care Workers' Union: Health Ministry's attempts to reform healthcare system may fail due to insufficient funding

  • 2017-04-07
  • BNS/TBT Staff

RIGA - The Health Ministry's desperate attempts to improve the quality of healthcare services and proposed reforms to the healthcare system may all fail due to insufficient funding for healthcare, as Latvian Health and Social Care Workers' Trade Union Chairman Valdis Keris told BNS.

The main principles of the healthcare reform are for the most part correct and in line with the World Bank's recommendations. The problem is that the reform does not foresee a substantial increase in healthcare workers' wages. "No medical technology will work without personnel, and these problems must be resolved as soon as possible, starting this year. There have to be financial guarantees, which in our country are provided by the Finance Ministry or the head of the government, or Saeima," said Keris.

There is no policy planning document to state how much funding for healthcare will increase - no specific figures are mentioned in the reform plan nor in the government's action plan. As a result, there are no grounds to expect that anything will improve, added Keris.

As to the Health Ministry's efforts to define local governments' responsibilities in ensuring access to healthcare, it is not really important whether funding for healthcare is provided by the state or municipalities, said Keris. At least 12 percent of the state budget has to go to healthcare, which, according to the World Health Organization, is attainable already now in Latvia, he added.

As reported, the Health Ministry's report on health care reforms that has been sent to ministries and the media focuses on the availability of healthcare services to residents, but it also solves problems important for the medical staff, said Latvian Health Care Minister Anda Caksa in a press conference.

She said that the task of the reform is to improve public health indicators, improve the healthcare quality irrespective of the service location, and solve human resource problems in the sector, as well as develop a strategic approach to procurement of healthcare services.