RIGA - The Latvian health care system needs a lot of improvement, Prime Minister Krisjanis Karins (New Unity) reiterated in an interview on Latvian Television today.
Asked to comment on the Latvian Hospital Association's warning that by the end of this year the health care system might find itself in a situation where it can no longer provide government-funded medical examinations, Karins said that he is not informed about the Health Ministry's internal cash flows.
At the same time, the prime minister repeatedly stressed that "we have much to improve in the health care system". For instance, improvements must be made to the network of hospitals, so that the available resources could be used more rationally.
The prime minister said that various health care segments are always short of state funds even though additional financing is invested in the health sector annually.
The prime minister admitted that the reforms planned on the hospital level might not help save money already this year, which is why government ministers are being asked to revise their budget programs and reallocate more money to the most underfunded programs. According to Karins, around EUR 100 million worth of budget funds remain unspent each year.
Karins noted, however, that the ministers are not particularly keen on saving budget money, with each focusing on their own specific sector. If the ministries do not find ways to reallocate budget funds, the Finance Ministry might have to interfere and come up with its own solution in June, the prime minister said.
As reported, Health Minister Liga Mengelsone has said that the health sector would need additional EUR 150 million this year.