Debate continues on health care reform
Earlier this month Health Minister Tomas Julinek revealed the details of his planned reforms in the healthcare sector, including a new system of fees upon visiting the doctor's or other health facilities. Since then, debate has not ceased on the issue, with the Czech Patients' Association going so far as calling the planned measures unconstitutional. At the same time experts are warning of a time bomb ticking in the Czech health care sector: the population is ageing and there are too few specialists focusing on geriatric care.
"I am seriously worried that every ill-considered change that Minister Julinek is working on can only derail the health care system. That can only result in poorer quality health care and increased costs."
The Health Ministry says a change of health care funding is vital. Deputy Health Minister Pavel Hrobon has calculated the Czech Republic's health care system will be short 30 billion crowns (1.4 billion USD) in 2015, unless the system of financing is changed. He says the overall annual fees paid by an individual should not exceed 5,000 crowns.
Health Minister Tomas Julinek announced on Sunday he was going to convene a commission that will be responsible for the country's health reform process. In a debate on Czech Television on Sunday, Mr Julinek said the commission will be made up of experts in the field and representatives of the five parties in parliament.
Meanwhile, experts on geriatric medicine warn that the Czech health care system fails to recognise the challenges of population ageing. They say the system should focus more on follow-up care and rehabilitation rather than acute care. People over 65 now constitute about 15 percent of the Czech population and that number is expected to grow: to almost 25 percent in 2030 and to one third of the population in 2050.