Health Minister Zuzana Zvolenská called on patients not to pay any fees that some doctors have introduced in the wake of the problems related to contracts with Všeobecná zdravotná poisťovňa (VšZP), the state-run health insurer, the TASR newswire reported.
"You are entitled to free health care. Please don't pay any doctors' fees," Zvolenská said on July 2, adding that patients should enforce their right to free-of-charge health care.
Doctors and VšZP have been struggling to find a compromise regarding payments for patients with VšZP only willing to increase payments for a certain group of patients while doctors demand that the increase cover all patient categories. The doctors also claim that the increase VšZP has proposed is merely the result of a state budget reserve of €50 million being released [rather than a case of bargaining in good faith with the doctors].
Zvolenská said that even though about 70 percent of specialists have signed the new contracts, a number of general practitioners still have not done so.
"I'm sorry that the situation has escalated to this point," Zvolenská said, adding that it is patients – who have nothing to do with the issue – who are suffering as a result.
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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