The Icelandic healthcare sector is looking at an ISK 7 billion (USD 57 million, EUR 35 million) cut in the next national budget and Minister of Health Ögmundur Jónasson said it is self-deception to think that the current level of service can be upheld.
“I don’t think anyone can maintain the self-deception that a cutback of this size, which we are witnessing year after year, won’t affect jobs and service. It is bound to, unfortunately, and it is ridiculous to claim anything else,” Jónasson told Fréttabladid.
The total cut in financial contributions from the state to the healthcare sector will be ISK 7 billion in the next national budget.
The executives of the Landspítali national hospital in Reykjavík must lower the operational cost of the hospital by 7.5 percent from 2008, by ISK 2.8 billion (USD 23 million, EUR 14 million).
Jónasson said the cutbacks will be undertaken in three stages: the saving possibilities within each institution will be analyzed first, then organizational changes will be undertaken, and finally, cutbacks will be made in health insurance and the costs of specialist examinations and medicines reduced. Jobs will be spared wherever possible.
Surgeon General Matthías Halldórsson said it is clear that the level of service will be compromised and that the main issue is making the most of the funds available and ensuring patient safety.
“The cutback is vast and will have more serious consequences than many people realize,” commented Elsa B. Fridfinnsdóttir, chair of the Association of Nurses.
Photo: Minister of Health Ögmundur Jónasson.