Public healthcare system at red-alert level

Publish date: 03-11-2009
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The Romanian public healthcare system is running at the red alert level, argue family doctors representatives, adding that the effects of under-financing are not yet visible at their real size, but the already frequent signals that appear show the situation may grow worse.

With the healthcare sector receiving less than 4% of the GDP, most measures taken are only to the effect of ensuring survival from one day to another, and the risk is looming that financial resources for drugs, laboratory tests and hospital equipment are drained out, just like funds for wage payment.

Dr. Viorel Ionescu, president of Family Physicians Employers' Organization, said in a debate organized by the Association of Family Physicians, that the number of patients stepping into doctor's offices is going down and that the number of admissions to hospital is projected to decrease by 10 - 15% in the last two months of the year. 'Patients say they no longer come because they are out of money and only seek the doctor for serious situations, which sends treatment cost growing,' explained Dr. Ionescu.

President of the National Society of Family Medicine (SNMF), Dr. Rodica Tanasescu, warned that family medicine faces severe money shortage on the background of rising prices, whereas the doctors' pay and patients' comfort saw no improvement. Tanasescu expressed hope that the current economic situation will not drive doctors' offices into shutting down, adding that whereas in 2008, family medicine received 9% financing, the share was just around 6% in 2009.

The citizens initiative committee for the increase of funds assigned for healthcare filed in Parliament a project aimed at increasing the budget of the healthcare system, signed by over 200,000 patients; the initiative has the support of family doctors.

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