Hospitals to be transformed into government-owned companies

Health minister Ivan Uhliarik (KDH) recently made an analogy about the health service in Slovakia, saying how we know the diagnosis, but haven’t been applying the right treatment. He now thinks he has come up with the medicine needed to restore the health of this crucial and highly-indebted sector, which was over EUR 200 million in debt at the end of 2009.

His first prescription against the cancer of rising debt is to transform state-owned hospitals into government-owned companies, by which he expects the debt to start declining already next year. He feels that the transformed hospitals will gradually stop posting losses and might even start posting profits. Uhliarik made it clear that this was not some kind of concealed privatisation, as the hospitals would effectively remain 100% in the hands of the state, but because the system of supervision of this firm of company will be clearer and stricter, the hospitals could start recovering from their long-term illness.

His ministry has already elaborated the plan for the conversion of the hospitals, which should be given the thumbs up by the government, then Parliament and finally endorsed by President Ivan Gasparovic. The transformation of the legal form of hospitals should be complete by the end of 2011.

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