The state budget for 2011 assumes cutbacks of up to 40 percent in funding to healthcare institutions all around the country.
Landspítali, the national hospital in Reykjavík, is in the foreground. Copyright: Icelandic Photo Agency.
“The service will decrease. The cutbacks cannot be met any other way. So much has been cut in the past years that there is nothing left; this is the big blow,” Birna Jónsdóttir, chairwoman of the Medical Association of Iceland, told Morgunbladid.
“The time which is given to react to these changes is much too sparse in my view. I don’t see how this can happen next year,” added Halldór Jónsson, director of FSA, the hospital in Akureyri.
“If this is the conclusion, the healthcare service in the Westman Islands in the form we have known it until now simply has to be shut down,” commented Mayor of the Westman Islands Ellidi Vignisson, adding, “the budget bill is not only poorly conducted in that regard, it practically hasn’t been worked on at all.”
According to RÚV, among the services that might have to be sacrificed in the Westman Islands is the local delivery room. The weather conditions don’t always allow transport between the islands and the mainland and so midwives are concerned for expecting mothers and their babies.
Adalsteinn Baldursson, chairman of the labor association Framsýn, told ruv.is the planned cutbacks to funding to the healthcare institution in the Thingeyjar district in northeast Iceland are jeopardizing its very existence.
“It is about life and death; you can put it that way,” he said. The healthcare institution, which is based in Húsavík, is among the larger workplaces in the region. The 40 percent cut might result in layoffs of 60 to 70 employees.
Baldursson said he has never experienced as much anger in town and in the entire area before. A civic meeting will be held about the planned cutbacks tomorrow.
Click here to read more about the potential consequences of the new budget bill.