Latvian Minister of Health says new budget does not meet previously outlined public health priorities

The present state budget project for 2023 does not meet the funding amounts outlined for public health priorities listed last year, admits Latvian Minister of Health Līga Meņģelsone.
She stressed that funding of the healthcare system and development is the responsibility of the entire government. All this goes hand in hand with necessary improvements in management, efficiency and accessibility. However, this year’s budget plan does not meet the financing goals that were voiced for the needs of the public health sector last year.
The Ministry of Health and professionals of this sector and NGOs continue working on necessary improvements for this sector. They are also actively working to secure necessary funding for public health and security, said Meņģelsone.
Latvian Hospital Association (LSB) has met with representatives of the Ministry of Health in order to discuss state co-financing to cover treatment costs. According to hospitals’ estimates, treatment of a single patient costs an average of EUR 1 700. The state, however, pays only EUR 1 090. The total loss hospitals suffer because of this is EUR 88 million, says LSB chairman Jevgēņijs Kalējs.
He mentioned that both sides agreed that the funding outlined in the budget is not enough and the real costs are too high for hospitals to afford proper treatment of patients. According to him, there may be big problems in the second half-year.

«This topic will be discussed at the next meeting of the National Council for Trilateral Cooperation.

We have no other way to influence Prime Minister Krišjānis Kariņš, because attempts to explain that we won’t be able to treat as many patients as before clearly don’t work. We are aware patients are not the main issue here – the budget it,» Kalējs admits.
On the 28th of February, during the discussion of the state budget for 2023, PM Krišjānis Kariņš invited ministers who, as he put it, «not prepared to work by implementing reforms» to resign.

The PM said «the government can no longer afford to push money into the system without reforms».

During the meeting there was a discussion about the topic of additional funding for the healthcare sector. Minister of Health Līga Meņģelsone invited making healthcare as one of the government’s priorities.
Minister of the Interior Māris Kučinskis said «we won’t abandon Līga», inviting making an addition to the minutes of the meeting, saying that healthcare will be one of the government’s priorities.
Minister of Finance Arvils Ašeradens mentioned at a press-conference that followed the government meeting that the discussion was about whether what is listed in the government declaration is implemented, specifically if funding for healthcare could reach 12% of total expenditures. Ašeradens said his party believes this is not the case.
The ministers agreed that if funding is found, the government will discuss where they should go base on priorities outlined in the government declaration.
Kučinskis mentioned at the press-conference that the budget situation is understandable, and there are no reserves in the budget. This is why it was necessary for talks to continue and to make sure those employed in healthcare do not feel left out. He also said healthcare’s pleas were heard in a sense.
«We have agreed to continue talks about healthcare even after the end of the budget compilation procedure. This is a signal we, as members of the government, hand to our faction. I am certain we will reach a consensus and the budget will be approved,» stressed the minister.
Also read: Latvian medical workers say reform will not solve chronic funding shortage in healthcare