Latvia's health workers suspicious of government healthcare spending

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Latvian Trade Union of Health and Social Care Workers (LVSADA) sent a letter to Eurostat Director General Mariana Kotzeva expressing suspicions that the responsible Latvian authorities artificially increase government spending on health care in their statistical reports, LVSADA said in a media statement July 28.

LVSADA said that they had a letter from the Ministry of Finance, which states that the general government's health expenditure in Latvia amounted to EUR 1172 million in 2018.

The trade union pointed out that this amount came from the expenditure of the Ministry of Health (EUR 1030 million), municipal expenditure (EUR 14 million) and the funds earmarked for the spending of European Union funds (EUR 23 million), adding “other expenditure”, mainly hospital costs of EUR 104 million.

The letter explained that, according to the methodology applied by the Ministry of Finance, “other expenditure” would be financed from resources such as the revenues of the companies gained by paid services. General government expenditure on health was recorded this way in 2017, 2018, 2019 and forecast for 2020.

Exactly the same amount of the general government expenditure of Latvia for healthcare – EUR 1172 million – was reported in the table “General government expenditure by function (COFOG)”. However, according to the clarification on the Eurostat website, general government health expenditure is essentially calculated by deducting companies' sales revenues from the funds obtained by the general government sector.

The union in May addressed the Central Statistical Bureau with a call for joint action to address potential quality risks. So far, though, no reaction has followed.

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