Director of Iceland’s Landspítali National Hospital Hulda Gunnarsdóttir said patients may soon have to pay for hospital admissions if a proposal on new sources of income for hospitals will be accepted.
Aerial view of Landspítali. Copyright: Icelandic Photo Agency.
According to the new budget bill, the state will contribute ISK 1.7 billion (USD 14 million, EUR 11 million) less to Landspítali’s operations in 2009 than originally planned in October this year, Morgunbladid reports.
To counteract lower funds, a committee report proposed changes to charges for hospital services, for example for food served to those admitted to hospital.
However, Minister of Health Gudlaugur Thór Thórdarson said such charges will not be implemented for the time being.
Gunnarsdóttir said the news of lower funds from the state will not lead to an immediate lowering of salaries or layoffs of hospital staff. However, Landspítali may be forced to undertake such measures next year, Gunnarsdóttir added.
In terms of lowering salaries of healthcare workers, such a decision will have to me made within the Ministry of Health or the Althingi parliament, Gunnarsdóttir said.
The cut to Landspítali’s funds will influence Iceland’s entire healthcare system, Gunnarsdóttir stated, calling for cooperation between different health institutions to cope with the cut.
Thórdarson agrees that increased cooperation is a good way to maintain the level of service despite decreased funding. “What we have mainly been looking into are administrational changes aimed at merging institutions and simplify processes.”
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