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PostSubject: It's about time!!   Sat Feb 11, 2012 5:08 pm

This is an article I read today and thought to share it here.

EU funding goes to readjustment of Bulgarian hospitals

A large number of the Bulgarian hospitals in the smaller towns are facing bankruptcy due to the insufficient number of patients, lack of specialists and money for their maintenance. That is why the Health Ministry has decided to carry out a large-scale reform of such hospitals into smaller units that will give the local population access to quality treatment. Bulgaria has earmarked some 145 million euros under the Regional Development Operational Programme for the renovation of the Bulgarian hospitals over the period 2007-2013. This will help reshuffle them into state-of-the-art medical centres that will have 10 beds each, an ambulance and a laboratory equipped along European standards so that they will be able to provide primary care to patients.

In 2011 the Ministry for Regional Development and Public Works signed a contract with the Health Ministry on the renovation of state hospitals to the tune of almost 65 million euros. The remaining 70 million euros under the Regional Development Operational Programme will be left to larger and smaller municipal hospitals and oncology dispensaries to apply for funding for their modernization. The first 7 projects have already been approved. On the eve of 2012 7 small Bulgarian municipalities received cheques for nearly 2 million euros each to help renovate their hospitals.

Here is what Health Minister Stefan Konstantinov, MD, told Radio Bulgaria.
“The issue what the state was actually doing for municipal health care has been on the public agenda ever since, but I don’t think we have reasons to divide health care into regional, municipal, rural, or the like. So the signing of the first 7 projects for the renovation of municipal hospitals is just one example of the care the state takes to treat all the residents of a given territory on an equal footing in terms of access to medical care. These hospitals have proven their viability, despite the heavy times they’ve been going through with the economic crisis and everything. The EU funding will do them a great deal of good to buy new equipment and to improve the conditions for the consulting of patients.”

Dimiter Ermov, former manager of the municipal hospital in Svilengrad, Southeastern Bulgaria, told Radio Bulgaria more about the way the funding will be used.

“We are going to mount a new CT scanner, and to introduce digital diagnostic imaging. We shall purchase also new equipment for the clinical laboratory, new 10 defibrillators, ECG devices, and equipment for anesthesiology and intensive care. We intend to renew the equipment for physical therapy and rehabilitation of the unit for reconvalescence and a new hemodialysis equipment. Unfortunately, the National Health Insurance Fund does not cover reconvalescence costs, so patients have to pay 7.5 euros a day. The basic equipment that we are going to buy will go to the hospital for active treatment, while the reconvalescence unit will focus more on physical therapy and rehabilitation. Our hospital covers also the municipalities of Ivaylovgrad, Lyubimets and Topolovgrad.”

What is the level of medical care in the hospital compared to the neighbouring countries and what are the manager’s plans for its future development?

“Recently I visited the hospital in the town of Dimotika, in Greece at their invitation. It is the only hospital along a distance of 180 km from the Bulgarian border on the way to the Aegean city of Alexandroupolis. And I must say our hospital is not inferior to that one except that they have more specialists. I have visited also the hospitals in other European countries, but I have not visited any small municipal hospitals like ours. The nearest Turkish hospital I’ve been to is in Edirne. But there they have a huge medical university, which is on a very high level. In Turkey they have an altogether different system of hospital care. For example, they place children and adults in the same ward, which in Bulgaria can never happen. In the future we plan to work more on joint projects with the town of Dimotika in Greece under the Cross-Border Cooperation Operational Programme. We have already met to discuss the details and we are going to have a second meeting to look into programmes and projects in which we could also take part,” hospital manager Dimiter Ermov says in conclusion.
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