ZAGREB, May 13, 2019 – Health Minister Milan Kujundžić on Sunday again warned about insufficient funds in healthcare, which is partly why medical staff are leaving Croatia, saying that for now a price increase of supplemental health insurance was not being considered but that outlays for healthcare must increase.
“We as a nation must decide if we want to keep doctors and nurses, superior medicine and new drugs. We must realise that they entail new costs,” he said on Nova TV.
The incumbent government inherited the health sector’s debt of 8 billion kuna and it has not increased it, but with outlays of 750 euro per capita, treatment cannot be as good as in countries which set aside 5,000 euro per capita, Kujundžić said.
He reiterated that the fastest effect would be achieved by raising excise taxes on alcohol and cigarettes, which Finance Minister Zdravko Marić has opposed so far.
Speaking of hospitals’ debt to drug suppliers, which has reached 2.6 billion kuna, Kujundžić said a solution would be found either at state budget or Croatian Health Insurance Fund level.
The minister said that despite the financial problems, many things in Croatia’s healthcare worked.
As for the large number of doctors and nurses leaving Croatia, he said the number of residencies had tripled over the past two years. This government has “a sound human resources policy and a significant number of physicians who left are coming back to Croatia.”
Kujundžić said one should keep in mind that 85% of hospital revenues went on salaries. “It’s difficult to raise salaries without stopping drug purchases,” he said, adding the solution was in higher outlays for healthcare.
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