Protests from the countryside keep flooding the Ministry of Finance because of proposed cuts to healthcare in the 2011 budget bill.
Minister of Finance Steingrímur J. Sigfússon. Photo by Páll Kjartansson.
Finance Minister Steingrímur J. Sigfússon defended the healthcare policy in his speech in parliament yesterday, reasoning that it is necessary to reorganize priorities, visir.is reports.
“We Icelanders must face the fact that we have to reorganize these operations and try to make them as efficient as possible and improve the use of funds as best as we can by, among other items, making use of improved transport and new technology,” Sigfússon said.
“I believe it is sensible to strengthen health monitoring and local health service, nursing operations and other such services, but instead we have to accept that to some extent the most specialized and expensive services must be relocated to fewer places,” he added.
However, the minister admitted in his speech that the new arrangements will be difficult to implement and therefore it has to be estimated how realistic it is to carry them through and over how long or short a period.
Civil meetings were held because of the planned healthcare cuts in Húsavík and Ísafjördur today. In Reykjanesbaer silent protests were held in the local botanical garden. Objections have also been received from municipalities in east Iceland and the Westman Islands.
Click here to read more about the planned cuts to healthcare.