Romania’s future government promises to invest heavily in overstretched, underfunded healthcare system

Romania’s incoming new government has promised substantial investments in the country’s underfunded and antiquated health system which has been overstretched during the coronavirus pandemic.

It says it will build ten new hospitals, including maternity units, and rehabilitate 25 county hospitals and 110 city hospitals to modernize healthcare in the East European country of 19 million.

It will also make allow different types of health insurance, to deliver on election pledges. Parliament is expected to endorse the new three-party center-coalition later Wednesday which is headed by former Finance Minister Florin Citu, a Western-education economist.

Romania has reported about 600,000 cases of coronavirus and more than 14,600 deaths since the pandemic began. In recent months, authorities have scrambled to find beds for patients, particularly those with the most severe symptoms. On Tuesday, there were 1,255 patients in intensive care units.

A statement from the coalition said the future government plans to pass a new healthcare law, reorganize the health ministry and make public health departments and other health institutions more efficient.

Romania spends among the least on health in the European Union,  just 5.2% of its gross domestic product in 2017.  The average expenditure on health across the bloc is about 10% with Germany and France spending 11.3%, the most.

Hospital managers and acquisition procedures are reported to be rife with corruption.

Unofficial payments to medical personnel is still widespread even after the Social Democrat-led government hiked wages more than three years ago in a bid to eradicate money slipped into medics’ pockets.

Romania’s health system must “offer European standard health services for every Romanian,” a statement said.

The new government will “start up and implement the necessary reforms which will lead to an improvements in life expectancy and improve patients’ access to a public, modern and efficient health care system.”

„The health system faces a double challenge, apart from structural reforms it has to cope with the unprecedented crisis of the Covid-19 pandemic.”


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