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Government proposes healthcare cutbacks

The health ministry announced Thursday that Government has decided that Slovakia will require some 8,000 fewer hospital beds in its healthcare system than it did at the end of 2005.

The Government proposes that there should be just over 29,000 hospital beds as compared to 37,000 at the end of 2005.

The biggest cuts were projected for facilities that treated major organ problems such as heart and lungs. Psychiatric wards were also scheduled for cuts. The plan calls for beds to be added in maternity and geriatric wards.

Both coalition and opposition MPs told SLOVAKIA that a proposal for a minimum network of hospitals, by which the state will guarantee agreements with health insurers, was necessary. The specific content of the network has yet to be determined, however.

Opposition KDH vice-chair Mária Sabolová noted that the list of guaranteed healthcare facilities lacked so-called mobile hospices, which, she believes should be included by law. She also emphasized that criteria other than economic should be considered when drawing the lists.

Opposition SMK party vice-chair for healthcare Imre Hugyivar contended that the availability of healthcare facilities in southern Slovakia's border regions should not be disturbed.

According to co-ruling LS-HZDS MP Ján Kovarčík, the proposal will be discussed further in the party's executive caucus next week.

Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
The Slovak Spectator cannot vouch for the accuracy of the information presented in its Flash News postings.

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