Health sector demands more money in state budget

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Latvia's Hospital Association and the Health Workers' Union on Tuesday, February 16, addressed the Saeima deputies with indignation and confusion about the budget project prepared by the government, asking for more funding to be allocated to the health sector.

There is still a relative increase in funding but not nearly enough, the sector believes.

In addition to the funding already earmarked, some €220 million would be needed.

“This is why we and the Hospital Association have decided to jointly address the Saeima deputies with a call to prevent the approval of a budget with such a large shortage of funds needed in health care,” said Valdis Keris, Chairman of the Health and Social Care Workers Union.

“We have informed members of the Saeima about the imminent situation and called on them to prevent the approval of a budget that would contribute to a health disaster. We have also informed the European Commission about the situation, and will also send a letter to the President and the Ombudsman. And if it no longer works, then the voters of Latvia should decide whether their vote in the previous parliamentary elections had been in their own interests,” Keris said.

If the money was not found, the consequences would be severe, points out the head of the Hospital Society, Jevgēņijs Kalējs.

He said that "people better get sick in the first half of the year, since they might not get any treatment in the second."

"Several hospitals have said that in August or September, scheduled patient admission will have to be stopped. Some hospitals have said that even emergency care will not be provided until the end of the year," said Kalējs.

Since the money will be needed anyway for hospitals to operate, Kalējs said that part of the funding might fall on patients' shoulders. 

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