In the 2014 budget bill, presented at parliament yesterday, the state’s contribution to Landspítali National University Hospital will remain unchanged at ISK 38.5 billion (USD 319 million, EUR 236 million). The hospital’s leadership reasons that compared to the hospital’s operations this year, this implies cutbacks of ISK 1.2-.1.7 billion in 2014.
Alþingi, the Icelandic parliament. Photo Icelandic Photo Agency.
CEO of Landspítali Páll Matthíasson, who took over when former CEO Björn Zoëga resigned last week after having familiarized himself with the budget bill, stated that this must be a misunderstanding that is bound to be corrected, Fréttablaðið reports.
“It is certainly disappointing but we assume that the government will stand by its word on reinforcing the hospital’s operations as well as equipment and facilities in the coming weeks,” Páll commented.
The hospital’s leadership maintained in its remarks that no consideration is taken to the ever-growing demand for the hospital’s services and other changes in its operational environment.
The hospital must now use part of its operational funds for financing new equipment and facilities, as an ISK 600 million contribution for such expenses was canceled in the budget bill, the leadership reasons.
Bjarni Benediktsson objected that cutbacks are being made to the state’s contribution to the hospital. As for financing new equipment, the additional contribution proposed by the previous government was supposed to be limited to one year, he maintained.
However, the Ministry of Welfare is looking into financing new equipment for Landspítali as well as FSA, the regional hospital in Akureyri, Bjarni stated.
Minister of Health Kristján Þór Júlíusson explained that the matter is more complicated than it appears at first sight and that Landspítali is in fact protected from a demand for cutbacks of 1.5 percent.
Kristján pointed out that Landspítali will maintain funding for the operation of 40-45 hospital beds that will be relocated from the institution, which is a question of several hundred million ISK.
“As for the equipment, temporary funding worth ISK 600 million was added after the second round of discussion [about the budget bill in parliament] in the autumn of 2012. I assume that funding will be added again this year,” Kristján commented, not mentioning any amounts.