Health Minister evaluates reforms

HEALTH Minister Rudolf Zajac summarised his four years of work at the ministry on May 12, stating that he regrets that the transformation of the largest and most important Slovak hospitals was not completed.

HEALTH Minister Rudolf Zajac summarised his four years of work at the ministry on May 12, stating that he regrets that the transformation of the largest and most important Slovak hospitals was not completed.

"It's a pity that the government allowed itself to be influenced by political interests at the end of the election term and pledged to halt hospital transformation," the minister said.

On the other hand, Zajac said he was pleased with the successful transformation of health insurance companies into joint stock companies. He stressed again that in order for Slovakia's health care system to work properly, the largest hospitals and university hospitals had to be turned into enterprises run on business principles to ensure they use money efficiently.

The minister also pointed out that the health care system had rid itself of its debts. He noted that between 2003 and the end of June last year, debt in the sector was reduced from Sk25.8 billion to Sk2.1 billion.

The state-run joint stock company Veriteľ was in charge of discharging the debts, and used Sk20 billion to settle claims of Sk33 billion. The co-author of the reform of the health care sector, Peter Pažitný, said that Veriteľ was the most transparent way of settling the debts.

Zajac also said he was proud of the establishment of the Health Care Supervision Bureau, which looks after patient interests.

The minister did not wish to comment on the various changes to his wide-ranging reform of the sector that political parties have been promising in their election campaigns. "I will comment on changes when things begin to happen," Zajac said.

Polls have consistently shown that the health care reform, which introduced patient fees, is the least popular of any reform introduced by the 2002-2006 Dzurinda administration.


- Martina Jurinová

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