Extra €113.4m for healthcare reforms in 2018

Additional financing of €113.4 million has been earmarked for further health care reforms in Latvia next year from the budget deficit increase approved by the European Commission, according to the Latvian Health Ministry report on the health care reforms planned in 2018.Additional financing of €113.4 million has been earmarked for further health care reforms in Latvia next year from the budget deficit increase approved by the European Commission, according to the Latvian Health Ministry report on the health care reforms planned in 2018.

Of this amount, €46 million will be spent to improve availability of health care service, €29.9 million are intended to improve cancer treatment, €16.7 million will be used for prevention of infectious diseases, €9.7 million have been earmarked for improving quality and availability of primary health care, and €11 million will be spent on treatment of cardiovascular diseases.

The Health Ministry said that the measures taken this year had already resulted in improved availability of health care services. By July 1, 2017, the average waiting time for appointments with medical specialists has reduced to 76.10 days from 100.48 days, and the average waiting time for day hospital services is down to 246.5 days from 407. The average waiting time for out-patient rehabilitation services has decreased from 469 days to 500.2 days. Further reduction of waiting time is planned in 2018.

In addition, EUR 94.3 million have been allocated for a pay rise to medical personnel to motivate them to choose providing the government-paid health care services instead of working in the private sector. But the ministry said that the pay rise would not be as steep as planned originally and the public medical establishments would need some time to hire more specialists.

As reported, the financing to health care will reach €1.014 billion next year, and the €194 million increase in 2018 is going to be the largest health care budget increase in Latvia since the country regained independence in the early 1990s.

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