Health Minister to resign over “ideological differences” with Smer

MPs refused to deal with her proposed hospital reform repeatedly. She hopes the next parliament will have more courage.

Health Minister Andrea Kalavská says she is determined to resign from her post after the government withdrew the bill on the reform of hospitals from the parliament on December 4, 2019Health Minister Andrea Kalavská says she is determined to resign from her post after the government withdrew the bill on the reform of hospitals from the parliament on December 4, 2019 (Source: Sme)

Health Minister Andrea Kalavská offered her resignation to Prime Minister Pellegrini on December 4, after the government once again withdrew a long-awaited bill on the reform of hospitals from the parliament's programme.

“Smer chose me as an expert, and if they are not satisfied with my work, I will be more than glad to resign,” the health minister said, as quoted by TASR.

Related articleGovernment has approved hospital reform Read more 

Although the reform is ready, the vote was postponed back in October upon Kalavská’s request as it had little political support at that time. Two other bills, including a bill that allows kindergartens to accept only vaccinated children, were then put off but will be voted on in December after all.

PM Pellegrini, however, thinks the minister should remain and continue her work. They will both meet on December 5 to discuss Minister Kalavská’s decision, TASR wrote.

A grotesque situation

The health minister also said, on December 4, that the post belongs to the ruling party Smer, and since she clashes with the party over “ideological differences” in the matter of bills put forward, Minister Kalavská thinks it is right to leave.

Related articleHealth Minister Kalavská withdrew hospital reform minutes before the vote Read more 

“I did not agree with the bill being withdrawn,” she went on to say, as quoted by TASR. “It is shameful, ridiculous and even grotesque how far we have come.”

The bill on the reform of hospitals had been agreed on by experts, Kalavská added. She expressed hope that the parliament after the 2020 elections will be more courageous and approve the bill.

Smer MPs said there is no point in replacing people at the ministries ahead of the elections. Smer MP Dušan Jarjabek advised Kalavská not to take the government’s decision personally, TASR wrote.

The next government will decide

The bill in question should bring higher quality health care to patients thanks to the stratification of hospitals.

PM Pellegrini said the stratification of hospitals will become a topic for the new parliament and government. He added he is worried the reform will be abused in the election campaign.

Related articleHealth Ministry plans thorough reform of hospitals Read more 

“My step today and the government’s step does not mean in any way that we have resigned from the need for changes in the Slovak health care sector,” the prime minister said on December 4, as quoted by the SITA newswire.

If Smer wins the elections next year, the party will deal with the reform of hospitals right from the start, he pledged. However, Smer chair Robert Fico said several times he has some reservations regarding the bill.

Another put-off is a time waste

Béla Bugár, a Most-Híd chair whose party is part of the government, said the stratification of hospitals is just the beginning of the health care reform but should be launched now.

“By the time the next government begins to deal with it, we will unnecessarily lose months if not years,” the Most-Híd chair said, as quoted by SITA.

His party did not support another postponement, which was agreed upon on December 4.

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