Government to help clear regional hospitals of old debts
Regional hospitals which have been labouring under huge debts are to get a relief-aid package from the government. The Cabinet on Tuesday earmarked 2 billion crowns which is to help clear debts accumulated up until the end of 2002. The move will give some hospitals teetering on the edge of bankruptcy a new lease of life.
When state controlled hospitals passed into regional ownership at the beginning of this year - the regions also inherited their long accumulated debts. They demanded that the state help clear these debts, claiming that it was way beyond their means to do so and warning that health care in the regions would deteriorate fast unless they could start with a clean slate. The government dallied -and regional governors joined forces to put pressure on the Cabinet. There were growing calls for the health minister's dismissal. The two billion crown aid package comes not a moment too soon - to give both the health minister Marie Souckova and some regional hospitals a new lease of life. However once the gratification subsides, regional governors will have to make some tough decisions - two billion crowns may seem like a lot of money but the overall debts allegedly amount to much more -between 3 and 6 billion, according to different sources.