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EU funds, Norway grants co-finance Czech psychiatric care reform

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Prague, Sept 12 (CTK) – The European funds and Norway Grants contribute with hundreds of million crowns to the current psychiatric care reform in the Czech Republic, the Health Ministry’s officials told a press conference focusing on the use of the Norway Grants on Tuesday.

Projects worth 1.5 billion crowns have been co-financed by EU funds so far, while the Norway Grants have co-financed projects worth more than 356 million crowns, the officials said.

At present, a discussion on what health care projects should be supported from the Norway Grants in the next period is underway, Daniela Matejkova, head of the ministry’s department of concept and strategies, said.

A total of 14 million euros, which is an equivalent of 365 million crowns, will be earmarked from the Norway Grants for the health sector. A part of the sum will go to the organisations of patients and their families, Deputy Health Minister Lenka Teska-Arnostova said.

There are some 8,000 follow-up care beds in Czech psychiatric hospitals. The reform plans to reduce the number of hospitalised psychiatric patients and to transfer the care outside hospitals.

For this purpose, centres of mental health are to be established, 30 across the country, by 2022. Their operation will cost 450 million crowns a year.

Teams comprised of psychiatrists, clinical psychologists, nurses and social workers are to work in the centres.

Ellinor Major, from the Norwegian Health Ministry, said a similar ten-year transformation of the psychiatric care in Norway, whose population is a half the size of the Czech, cost an equivalent of 17.5 billion crowns.

The Czech reform is to be completed in 2025.

Up to now, the European funds have supported the upgrading of psychiatric care in individual Czech regions, mainly focusing on new hospital wards, out-patient surgeries and daily care centres, as well as field work.

In the foreseeable future, five hospitals will construct new buildings, other two will be reconstructed and a centre of mental health will be established.

The Norway Grants have mainly served to support projects introducing a new system of care aimed to facilitate patients’ return to society, including the establishment of new premises for patients to meet and the launch of educational programmes.

Up to 500,000 people with a serious psychiatric disease live in the 10.5-million Czech Republic.

One in three Czechs were in psychiatric care once in their life at least.

Three to four percent of the health sector’s budget, or 10 billion crowns approximately, goes to psychiatric care.

Mental and behaviour disorders are the second most frequent reason for Czechs to be granted disability pension.

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