Health minister announces planned hospital mergers

Health Minister Leoš Heger on Thursday announced several hospital mergers in connection with the government’s austerity measures. The health minister said the planned mergers would save the health sector approximately 60 million crowns annually. Among others the Prague Rheumatology Institute is to merge with Prague’s General Teaching Hospital and in Brno two teaching hospitals are to merge with the Brno Centre for Cardiology and Transplant Medicine. The move has come under fire from the opposition which says it will lower the quality of health care, extend the waiting period for operations and reduce the number of hospital beds for patients.