RIGA - The economic crisis in Latvia is now set to hit the sick and indigent. All hospitals will run out of money by the end of September or the beginning of October if the budget funding is not increased, warns Health Minister Baiba Rozentale.
Medical services now provided by state hospitals are currently immune from spending cuts from the current budget, and therefore receive full funding from the budget, reports newswire agency LETA. But without reduced spending and forced savings, thereby stretching the remaining funds, the sector is heading into a situation where all money in the health budget will soon be exhausted.
Prime Minister Valdis Dombrovskis has asked for an explanation from the Health Ministry regarding insufficient spending cuts by the hospitals, says his press secretary Liga Krapane.
Dombrovskis expressed that "It is impossible to logically explain why funds for some hospitals were cut even threefold, although with the budget amendments the funding for healthcare decreased by about one-fifth from last year. The sooner we have a clear picture of the current situation and what happens next, the better for patients as well as healthcare workers. Hospitals must also know how to revise their work and what to expect."
An open letter from the Latvian Association of Physicians has placed demands that the Health Ministry make public all of its expenditures and explain why spending cuts in the budget have affected hospitals more than other groups in healthcare.
Rozentale is seeking an extra 87-90 million lats (124 - 128.5 million euros) for the health sector.