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President Gašparovič recommends a halt in hospital transformations

President Ivan Gašparovič recommended to Health Minister Ivan Uhliarik on November 4 that he should halt the transformation of state-run hospitals into joint-stock companies, the SITA newswire reported.

President Ivan Gašparovič recommended to Health Minister Ivan Uhliarik on November 4 that he should halt the transformation of state-run hospitals into joint-stock companies, the SITA newswire reported.

“After meeting with the health minister and having a phone conversation with the prime minister I decided that the transformation would not go on,” Gašparovič said, as quoted by SITA, adding that he recommended that the cabinet not approve the founding documents and postpone this issue until after the March elections.

The president said it would be ideal if the cabinet amended the law ordering the transformation of hospitals so that it no longer obliges the government to do so.

Over 2,000 doctors working in Slovak hospitals filed notices in October in protest against the transformation, voicing other demands as well, including an increase in their salaries. The notice period elapses in December and if the doctors leave it could cause serious problems within these hospitals.

President Gašparovič supports the halt to the transformation of hospitals also because of public opinion, his spokesperson Marek Trubač stated, as reported by SITA, adding that people are afraid that the transformation would lead to privatisation and subsequent shutdown of the hospitals.

The cabinet okayed continued transformation at its session in early November. Health Minister Ivan Uhliarik is convinced that in spite of early elections the transformation should continue as it was adopted by the cabinet and passed by parliament, SITA reported. The minister said he would prepare founding documents and statutes for the joint-stock companies even though these must be approved by the cabinet and before that by the president – under the recent amendment which grants the president additional powers while the country is governed by an interim cabinet.

Source: SITA

Compiled by Michaela Terenzani from press reports
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