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Upper Nitra group to protest the closing of hospital wards

About 350 people from the districts of Partizánske and Prievidza showed up at the Health Ministry building in Bratislava on Monday, July 4, to protest the cancellation of beds as well as entire wards in local hospitals, the SITA newswire wrote. Representatives of the two towns hoped to present a petition signed by over 42,000 people. The mayor of Partizánske Jozef Božík said that people of Upper Nitra want government officials to acknowledge the needs of citizens who live beyond Bratislava’s borders and that there are many regions where poor transport, poor infrastructure and where poor health-care availability are the rule rather than the exception.

About 350 people from the districts of Partizánske and Prievidza showed up at the Health Ministry building in Bratislava on Monday, July 4, to protest the cancellation of beds as well as entire wards in local hospitals, the SITA newswire wrote. Representatives of the two towns hoped to present a petition signed by over 42,000 people. The mayor of Partizánske Jozef Božík said that people of Upper Nitra want government officials to acknowledge the needs of citizens who live beyond Bratislava’s borders and that there are many regions where poor transport, poor infrastructure and where poor health-care availability are the rule rather than the exception.

Health Minister Ivan Uhliarik did not meet with the protesters but he promised to study the petition personally in Partizánske. Božík called on Uhliarik and representatives of the Všeobecná zdratovná poisťovňa (VšZP) health insurer to negotiate with local administration representatives at every step as greater austerity measures in health care are discussed, SITA wrote. According to VšZp proposals, hospital in Partizánske will lose six wards. Prievidza hospital in Bojnice will lose 52 beds in three wards.

According to the Sme daily in its Wednesday, July 6, issue, the protests were very emotional. Chanting slogans such as “Our death equals your joy”, the Upper Nitra protesters are enraged at the possibility of an expected loss of 150 beds. Ministry spokesperson Katarína Zollerová explained to protesters that most wards were cancelled because of lack of staff and that it was up to heads of hospitals in Partizánske and Bánovce nad Bebravou to agree on which hospitals will continue to have gynaecological and surgery wards. Minister Ivan Uhliarik was on holiday was not present at the demonstration.

Sources: SITA, Sme

Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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