Landspítali, Iceland’s national hospital, has often operated at a loss. Last year, they reported a 3.8 billion ISK deficit, and responded by making numerous cuts in management and reducing certain departments.
However, now the hospital is facing having to undergo an “optimisation requirement”—essentially, spending cuts—totalling some 4.3 billion ISK, RÚV reports. Ólafur Darri Andrason, the head of Landspítali’s finance department, says this will extend to 2022, and will necessitate even more cuts to staff and services in order to close the gap.
“Parliament needs to change this”
That a hospital would need to make cuts in the midst of a global pandemic was not greeted warmly by members of Parliament.
“It is dangerous to place strict spending and optimisation requirements on health services in the middle of a global pandemic, and this Parliament needs to change,” Social Democrat chair Logi Einarson said.
Social Democrat MP and chair of the parliamentary welfare committee Helga Vala Helgadóttir characterised the cuts as “pissing in one’s shoe”, and offered a simple suggestion of her own:
“I want to see that more slack is given, that the government funds the health care system as needed, as is being done in countries around us. It’s all about priorities.”
Ólafur is mindful of these concerns, telling reporters that they are trying their best to ensure the same level of service despite the cuts.
“We’re trying of course to cut and optimise where it will impact patients the least,” he told reporters. “We’re trying to optimise hospital management, in certain projects that don’t concern the daily service of patients. Our main goal is to be able to give patients the same good and secure service despite the need to optimise.”
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