Pediatricians Stage Protest Demanding Abolition of Medical Treatment Limits for Children
105 ECONOMY - PEDIATRICIANS - PROTEST
Pediatricians Stage Protest
Demanding Abolition of Medical
Treatment Limits for Children
Sofia, May 10 (BTA) - A third round of protests over the future of Bulgaria's only children's hospital was held on Friday. Pediatricians and nurses, supported by parents of sick children, blocked Ivan Geshov Blvd in Sofia to press their demands for abolishing medical treatment limits in children's healthcare, changing the status of the Prof. Ivan Mitev Children's Hospital, and raising wages.
Despite Deputy Health Minister Zheni Nacheva's assurances that it is possible to transfer a sick child to another hospital ward in case of bed shortage, this is actually untrue, Dr Adil Kadum of the Genetics Clinic told BTA. Kadum insisted that the Children's Hospital's status should be changed to entitle it to receive all the funding it needs from the Health Ministry. At present, the hospital is financed solely by the National Health Insurance Fund.
Physicians complained that underfunding at the Children's Hospital has led to a situation where it is necessary to switch to a different expense bill in order to cover the treatment costs for some of the young patients. This causes the hospital to incur higher expenses and lose earnings. The physicians expect their problems to be solved by the central government. They are opposed to any limits on admissions and treatment in the Children's Hospital.
Dr Mila Baicheva told Nova TV: "We do not see a willingness on the part of the power-holders and the institutions to discuss the status of the hospital and consider a raise of the wages of its staff." The protesters gave the government 10 days to start the procedures necessary to address their problems. If this does not happen, they could resign en masse or go on strike.
Deputy Health Minister Boiko Penkov said on bTV that there will be no limits on the admission of patients to the Prof. Ivan Mitev Children's Hospital. He said most of the pediatricians' demands can be fulfilled. "If a child needs to be hospitalized, it will be hospitalized and will receive medical treatment. This will be recognized by the National Health Insurance Fund, and the hospital staff will get their money," Penkov said.
He noted that the award of special status to the hospital could take up to two years, but another children's hospital which is to be built will have such special status from the beginning. "Wages will be increased step by step," the Deputy Health Minister said, but did not elaborate. LY/VE