THE HEALTH Ministry will initiate a plan to construct integrated health-care facilities, where doctors and social workers will provide a broad range of services under one roof, as of 2015. The construction of new facilities, and the reconstruction of older centres, is expected to cost hundreds of millions of euros and should be covered by EU funds.

The integrated health-care centres will house general practitioners as well as dentists, gynaecologists and social advisers, all of whom will work in one place. The centres will replace the current system of isolated consulting rooms, which the Health Ministry believes will reduce the increasing costs of health care.

About one half of the current hospitals will either be turned into specialised health-care centres for patients with chronic illnesses, or simply cease to exist. The whole project should be finished in 10 years with 140 new centres, the Sme daily reported.

These centres should be located in cities, towns and bigger villages, and each one should be able to handle up to 30,000 people. Despite the fact that the centres are mainly for general practitioners, the ministry wants to create space for specialists, too. They will not be there permanently, however, and may work there only certain days of the week.

While these centres could attract young doctors, those who already have their own office may not be interested, according to Ladislav Pásztor, the President of the Association of Private Doctors.

“If [doctors with an office] were willing to have such centres, they would already have them,” Pásztor said, as quoted by Sme.

Compiled by Spectator staff from press reports
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