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PostSubject: Healthcare – one of the cabinet’s priorities in 2012   Thu Jan 05, 2012 4:52 pm


Healthcare – one of the cabinet’s priorities in 2012

In 2012, healthcare is expected to be among the priorities of the Bulgarian government, along with the construction of highways. Despite the economic crisis, the government has allocated more money in the state budget for the healthcare sector this year and is firm that the reforms in the healthcare system should continue. This became clear at the final briefing of Prime Minister Boyko Borissov on New Year’s eve on healthcare-related topics.
In early December 2011, PM Borissov made it one of the cabinet’s goal to solve the issue with the debts of hospitals, including measures such as penalties and replacement of current hospital directors. Furthermore, Bulgaria’s Healthcare Minister Stefan Konstantinov promised not only personnel changes, but also the unification of entire hospital wards in response to the expectations of Bulgarians for urgent reforms in this area. The reforms are to reduce the number of hospitals in the country so that medics could work at one place but receive higher wages, while the budget for healthcare should be issued more effectively to the benefit of patients. According to him, this does not constitute an administrative closing down of some hospitals but an effort for restructuring of hospitals that have insufficient staff and no patients. "
Instead of going bankrupt in a natural way, they should rather take the opportunity to restructure with the help of EU funds to the tune of 2 million leva,"
he said. Prime Minister Boyko Borissov also firmly supports this idea.
Actually, the people who have hospitals with poor quality of treatment in their towns are doomed by going there"
, the Premier pointed out. "
Let the experts say that there are hospitals where neither the equipment nor the staff or whatever is at the appropriate level. It is better to take patients with an ambulance and transport them to a larger hospital rather then treat them badly in the local hospital. And this is the case today."

According to Healthcare Minister Konstantinov, the bill brought in parliament at the end of 2011 only comes to confirm that healthcare remains a key priority for the government and the reform will continue.
Part of the reform is the introduction of an electronic health card that has been discussed for more than 10 years now. Work is under way now on the creation of an electronic healthcare with the possibility for an electronic prescription and electronic patient's file. This system is expected to be ready in 2013 but only this year the government has started using EU funds for this large-scale project. Bulgaria is one of few EU countries where healthcare has not been a governmental priority for many years of governments. But the electronic health card is part of the overall e-government system, Healthcare Minister Stefan Konstantinov told Radio Bulgaria.

Currently, the team of Deputy Minister Valery Borissov, who is responsible for e-government, in developing an electronic identifier"
, Minister Konstantinov said. "
With this card, citizens will be able to use administrative services and review their health record. The great difficulty is how design the overall system. The card is only an element and is an easy thing to do. Bank e-cards virtually cost less than 1 lev and one can also use them for administrative services. So far, the system of expensive drugs spent Some 2.4 million leva has been spent so far on the system for expensive drugs but it is not yet operating and the money was paid. Spending was done differently in the past. Now we have very little money, so we need to figure out how to best spend it. We can easily make a card for health services, then another one for administrative services, and then the digital signature. But this is not the right approach.”

It would have been a very good solution if we had included the electronic chip for healthcare services in the new ID cards that were issued some time ago, PM Boyko Borissov said with regret. In this way, citizens could have their ID card issued once and then use it for all services. However, we missed this opportunity. So now we have to seek another opportunity with another type of card. A much better option which was how things are done in Estonia has already been missed during the term of the previous government when it launched the competition for replacement of identity documents”, Bulgaria’s PM Boyko Borissov commented.

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