Healthcare sector stand-off continues
Health minister David Rath's radical reforms have divided the health sector—hundreds of general practitioners, specialists, dentists and pharmacists are demanding his dismissal. They claim that his radical efforts to reform the sector have proved destructive for the system and dangerous for patients. Others feel that the minister has finally managed to stem the money drain from the sector and has successfully addressed long-standing problems.
"We are forced to make selections among patients. If you are prosperous you can get better care, but if you are not you can only get the old-fashioned treatment. It's unacceptable for us, and for our patients as well. We try to provide the best care we can, but we don't want to make selections. As I mentioned before, the care, prescription of drugs, or examinations—these are things we pay ourselves, and it's unacceptable for us."
"Access to and quality of healthcare is not threatened in the Czech Republic. The new regulations on payments for services that come into effect this April will ensure that the increased resources that will go into healthcare will reach individual facilities, so that we can reasonably and effectively use them as we care for our patients."
"The Minister of Health makes all the decisions personally, without discussions. He was concentrating all the power and all the money into his own hands. The system of healthcare provisions in the Czech Republic is based on health insurance, and his steps led to the situation that all these health insurance companies are—or they will be in a few weeks—fully powered and managed by him. The steps to a totalitarian regime of the kind we remember are really endangering us. We are really scared about it."
As for patients—they just want the best possible care—although they may not always agree on how that should be achieved.
"I think that all of a sudden everyone wants to strike, and people are always dissatisfied with something. Doctors will receive an increase in salary, and it just seems like a political provocation."
"I'm convinced that the Ministry of Health is trying to re-socialize our healthcare system. They want to increase the role of the state in healthcare again, to emphasize the state's regulatory role. I think this is fundamentally wrong, so I can't agree. Instead I would focus on the systems that exist in states like Switzerland or New Zealand, but I wouldn't go in the direction we're going here today."
"Healthcare has become an economic issue today, and doctors are acting more like economists than physicians."