€3.054bn Healthcare Spending Planned for 2019, Shorter Waiting Times a Priority

By , 22 Feb 2019, 11:50 AM Politics
€3.054bn Healthcare Spending Planned for 2019, Shorter Waiting Times a Priority Flickr - agilemktg1, CC-by-0

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STA, 21 February 2019 - The government confirmed on Thursday the financing plan for public healthcare in 2019, which includes additional funding and incentives for reducing waiting lines and an extra EUR 104m to cover the recent pay rise for healthcare staff.

The government confirmed what is termed "the general agreement for healthcare" and the financial plan of the healthcare purse ZZZS which envisages revenue and expenditure to level out at EUR 3.054bn. The figure is EUR 172m higher than in 2018.

A total of EUR 55m has been earmarked - coming on top of EUR 35m left from last year - to address waiting lines, which have been the main and persistent issue of the public healthcare system.

The funding framework adopted today was presented as giving the green light to some of the measures meant to cut the waiting times, one novelty being bonuses for hospitals and health centres for every medical examination beyond the number set down by standards.

"These examinations will be paid separately. They can start with them immediately, they just need to increase the number of doctor's offices ... I know that the system is rigid and that things will take time. But progress can be reached within a year," Health Minister Samo Fakin told the press.

He added that the results will be most obvious if the waiting lines are tackled at the country's largest hospitals, in Ljubljana, Maribor and Celje. If the response is slow, private providers will show interest, Fakin warned.

The ZZZS budget for 2019 envisages EUR 2.14bn going for healthcare services, 5.6% more than this year.

The financial plan entails an expansion of the primary healthcare network, providing funds for more GPs and paediatric surgeries since access varies greatly across the country.

The plan earmarks EUR 366.6m for sick pay (+7.5% over 2018), while EUR 54.2m is to be spent for healthcare provided abroad (+2.4% y/y).

Moreover, the insurer wants to preserve the same level of accessibility to innovative drugs. In total, EUR 444.5m will be available for drugs, medical aids and vaccines next year, 7% more than in 2018.

The government was also briefed on a report on the year-long project aimed at cutting waiting times that was adopted by the previous government as part of a strike deal with doctors and concluded on 31 March 2018.

The report found that out of EUR 18m earmarked for the purpose only EUR 8.15m was actually spent. The money went for performance bonuses for doctors and other healthcare staff putting in extra work to reduce waiting times and provide better care to patients.

All our stories on healthcare in Slovenia can be found here

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