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Health law to come into effect

THE SLOVAK parliament has approved for a second time a health bill that introduces fees for a wide range of services in the indebted health service, to take effect from June 1.

Parliament previously approved the bill in March, to take effect on April 1, but President Rudolf Schuster refused to sign the legislation, arguing that more groups than listed, including pregnant women and the severely or mentally ill, should be exempt from the fees. These groups have been included in exemptions in the new bill.

The fees that include Sk20 (0.5 euro) for a doctor visit, Sk20 for a prescription, Sk50 (1.2 euro) for a day in hospital, and Sk2 (0.05 euro) per kilometre travelled in an ambulance.

The parliament also approved an amendment to the law that binds the health ministry to issue executive guidelines for doctors and hospitals along with the legislation. The bill does not require the president's signature to pass into law after the second vote.

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