Amid Medics' Protests, President Calls for Rethinking Healthcare Model

ESD 17:20:01 23-04-2019

Amid Medics' Protests, President Calls
for Rethinking Healthcare

Sofia, April 23 (BTA) - Amid a wave of protests by various groups of medical professionals, President Rumen Radev Tuesday called for rethinking the healthcare model in Bulgaria. "The protests of medical specialists and the dissatisfaction of patients in Bulgaria show that we need to rethink the healthcare model," the President said as he met with medical professionals in his office.

He said that health care is a key priority in any prosperous nation.

Attending the meeting with the President were representatives of an initiative committee which is organizing nation-wide protests against the inequalities in the healthcare system in Bulgaria. The initiative committee represents nurses, midwives, paramedics, physical therapists and other medical workers, who have been protesting for months against the inadequate work conditions and low pay.

They told reporters that they asked to meet the President because they trust him.

They also said that the current healthcare model is focused on treatment while prevention and follow-up care are practically non-existent.

They said they want this model to change and it is not only higher wages that they are after.

They complained of harassment by their employers for participating in the protests.

Nurses, who previously picketed weeks ago demanding a starting wage equal to two minimum wages in Bulgaria, said that a formula for calculating the monthly wage of nurses, which Health Minister Kiril Ananiev plans to put forward in May, has not been discussed with them.

In a separate development on Tuesday, doctors, nurses and interns held a protest outside the specialized pediatric hospital in Sofia demanding a change in the status of the hospital to allow it to use financing both from the National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF) and from the Health Ministry.

Now it is only funded by the NHIF.

The protesting medics at the pediatric hospital also want the caps on medical services to be scrapped and wages raised.

Commenting the protest, Deputy Health Minister Boyko Penkov said he would propose to the Supervisory Board of the NHIF to scrap the caps for the pediatric hospital.

He also said that options will be sought to raise the price tags for some clinical pathways in pediatrics.

Clinical pathways are the main tool for financing health services by the NHIF.

It is his personal view that changing the status of the pediatric hospital would take years and that it would be faster to build a new pediatric hospital - which is what the government plans to do.

The existing pediatric hospital - like most hospitals in Bulgaria - is a commercial corporation and to be wound up it has to go through a liquidation procedure under the Commercial Code which takes between three and 30 years, Penkov explained on Nova TV earlier on Tuesday. IG/LN/

Source: Sofia