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Increased insurance to go to pay raise, health minister says

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Prague, June 23 (CTK) – The possible increase in state payments to the Czech healthcare system would be used to raise salaries in hospitals and other medical facilities in 2016, Health Minister Svatopluk Nemecek said after meeting representatives of hospitals, trade unions and patients yesterday.
Nemecek (Social Democrats, CSSD) proposed that the state increase the health insurance payments for children, students, pensioners and the unemployed from 845 to 904 crowns a month. This would increase the healthcare budget by 4.3 billion crowns a year as the state covers the insurance for nearly six million people.
The government will discuss the proposal on Wednesday.
It repeatedly postponed its decision on the issue. Finance Minister Andrej Babis (ANO) challenged Nemecek’s plan. He said he was ready to give the healthcare sector the maximum of 600 million crowns.
Nemecek said yesterday both the unions and the employers clearly supported his proposal.
He said he promised them that the whole sum would be used to raise the salaries.
Czech Doctors’ Union head Martin Engel said the coalition government pledged in its policy statement that it would increase the insurance payments for children and pensioners.
“The medical staff have been forced to keep calling on the government to fulfil its policy statement for the second year now,” Engel said.
Later yesterday, Nemecek had talks with Labour Minister Michaela Marksova (CSSD) and the majority health insurance company VZP director Zdenek Kabatek about medical services in social facilities.
Nemecek told CTK that one to two billion crowns a year are missing for these services.
Kabatek said the ministers were looking for a systemic solution, while VZP had to deal with the situation here and now so that the social facilities could survive.
Nemecek and Marksova agreed that population ageing was behind the increased costs.
Marksova said social facilities must get paid for the medical treatment provided to their clients.
According to the Labour Ministry, 924 social care facilities with about 64,000 beds are obliged to provide nursing services. The numbers of nurses in these facilities have been falling since 2008. The finances from the public insurance cover only 70 percent of the costs of the nursing services. Moreover, clients need more intensive care than ten years ago because their types changed.
($1=23.981 crowns)

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