Iceland Facing Ten Percent Cut in Healthcare Skip to content

Iceland Facing Ten Percent Cut in Healthcare

Representatives of healthcare institutes in Iceland doubt that a ten percent cut to their expenses, as planned by the Ministry of Health, is possible without decreasing the level of service. Mass layoffs and the closure of wards would be inevitable.

The Ministry of Finance has ordered all ministries to cut their expenses by ten percent of annual turnover compared to the 2009 national budget, which means an ISK 12 billion (USD 85 million, EUR 68 million) cut for the Ministry of Health, Fréttabladid reports.

Aerial view of the National Hospital (in front) and Hallgrímskirkja Church in Reykjavík. Copyright: Icelandic Photo Agency.

It is unclear whether a flat cut is being asked for or whether there is room to investigate how manpower and facilities can be used as efficiently as possible, which would soften the blow of the rationalization measures for some healthcare institutes.

Director of Landspítali (LSH), the national hospital, Hulda Gunnlaugsdóttir, said LSH’s ideas on saving do not include a ten percent cut to the hospital’s operational funds. She believes there are many opportunities for saving at hand, especially if the number of days people are admitted to hospital is limited by organizational changes.

Gunnlaugsdóttir believes salary expenses can be lowered without directly decreasing the salaries of hospital staff. The director also calls for increased cooperation between different healthcare institutes.

All savings proposals were supposed to be submitted to the Ministry of Health yesterday.

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