RIGA - Stable funding is critical for the development of healthcare, but healthcare sector in itself has to find opportunities for systemic improvements, innovation and increased efficiency, Health Minister Hosams Abu Meri (New Unity) said at a meeting of the Health Sector Strategic Council today.
The meeting discussed priorities of the 2024 healthcare budget and measures included in the government's action plan on healthcare, the Health Ministry informed LETA.
Abu Meri stressed that his overarching goal was to build a patient-centered healthcare system and to achieve this through efficient prioritization and transparent management of funding, introduction of modern technologies and digital solutions. Work is under way on concrete initiatives with specific deliverables that will ensure more accessible, better quality and more efficient healthcare in Latvia.
Abu Meri emphasized that the 2024 draft budget envisaged significant additional funding of EUR 275 million for healthcare. Part of these funds will be included in the Health Ministry's budget as of January 1, 2024, while the remaining part will be reserved for specific needs of the healthcare sector and allocated for implementation of reforms in accordance with individual government decisions.
In the coming year, additional funding will be earmarked for human resources development in healthcare. More than EUR 66 million will be set aside for increasing salaries of healthcare workers: physicians' salaries will increase 10 percent, salaries of nurses will grow 5.5 percent and of auxiliary personnel 5.9 percent.
More than EUR 127 million will be spent on improving access to and quality of healthcare services. This will reduce numbers of people waiting in lines for outpatient services and strengthen primary healthcare system. EUR 9.8 million will be allocated for improving access to and quality of cancer treatment services.
In addition, more than EUR 50 million will be earmarked for revising the list of reimbursable medicines in order to add new and effective medicines to the list and to improve patients' access to medicines.
More than EUR 13 million will be allotted to improve access to maternal and child health services.
The Health Sector Strategic Council was also briefed on allocation of an additional EUR 30 million for healthcare later this year.