Drucker: Health Sector Not Black Hole, But Changes Will Take Time

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Slovakia doesn’t have a bad health sector; it’s neither catastrophic, nor a black hole, said Health Minister Tomas Drucker (a Smer-SD nominee) on TA3’s programme ‘V politike’ (In Politics) on Sunday.

Drucker realises that the public wants to see changes in the health sector immediately. This is unrealistic, however, he said. “Introducing changes will take a while,” he added.

Drucker is aware of the fact that the financing for the system is insufficient and that people complain about long waiting times to see specialists and about the poor condition of health-care facility buildings. The minister wants additional money to flow into the health sector as early as this year. A respective proposal might be prepared in April or May. Drucker is currently working with doctors on a minimum specialist network at district level. This should guarantee that waiting times won’t be so long.

The minister rejects calls to denationalise state-run health insurer Vseobecna zdravotna poistovna (VsZP), as proposed by some Opposition MPs. He doesn’t find this to be an objective debate. He believes that the state should have “control over mechanisms”. He often hears complaints that “private health insurers are saving on health-care provision”.

Drucker also commented on a scrapped proposal for supplemental surgery hours that should have been offered by doctors in the afternoon. He said that the time isn’t ripe for this. However, he denied that physicians are arranging specific times for patients within surgery hours for a fee.

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