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Dozens of hospitals evacuated in cost-cutting health care reform

Hundreds of patients were removed from healthcare establishments turned overnight into elderly homes.

Elderly people, infants in incubators, women who had just given birth or waiting to deliver were all hastily moved like pieces of furniture out of a total of 67 hospitals set to be converted into elderly homes on April 1. The ‘Great Disposal’ did not discriminate between patients with minor conditions and those in a grievous state or suffering from mental disorders and who, normally, may not be moved between hospitals at any time. Together with the patients, the medical staffs were also evacuated in much haste over the week-end.
The case with the highest profile in Bucharest is the one of the Caritas Hospital, turned into a nursing home. Fifty-seven people including 17 newborns were moved to other hospitals in Bucharest by SMURD ambulances on Friday, Mediafax informs. The operation took about two hours. Most of the adult patients were sent to the Colentina, Coltea and Sf. Maria Hospitals and the 17 newborn babies to the Filantropia, Panait Sarbu and Cantacuzino Hospitals and three to the Mother And Child Institute because they had been abandoned by their parents after birth.


An unprecedented situation was created at the Hospital in Baia de Aries, Alba County, after the authorities had decided that 19 of the 42 mental patients there were to be discharged and placed into the care of their families. Only five of the 19 patients were initially transferred, as the medical staff opposed the release of the other 14. The head of the Alba Public Health Department (DSP), Dr. Horia Timis said 34 patients were still in the Baia de Aries Hospital where they had four-day drug supplies and food provided by the local authorities. Timis claims the patient were practically ‘guarded’ by the hospital staff and DSP was refused access to the their medical records and documents in order to prepare the paperwork needed for the transfer, because the legal guardian’s consent is required in the case of patients suffering from mental disorders: ‘We are being prevented by the local authorities and union representatives from enforcing the government decision.’ But the DSP representatives were not discourages that easily. Several ambulances with medical crew as well as gendarmes were mobilised at the entrance into the city before the end of the day, on Friday, to transfer the patients to the medical unit in the Zam locality. In spite of the medics’ protests, the hospital could not be ‘saved’ and the Baia de Aries Local Council decided, on Saturday, to turn it into a nursing home for elderly people.


The Cisnadie Hospital (Sibiu County), also on the Health Ministry’s list, was sealed on Friday. ‘Today is a sad day for us. We have worked here for the last 20 years and who knows how we will be received in Sibiu. (…) We never expected it would come to this. But we still hope that at least something can be rescued’, said internal disease head-nurse Liliana Babanean. The Negresti Town Hospital also closed on April 1, when the patients were discharges and all 120 workers were sent home. The hospitals of Tandarei, Ialomita County, Balcesti, Valcea County, Targul Frumos, Iasi County and Busteni, Prahova County are in a similar situation.
The hospital of Tutova, Vaslui County, also on MS’s list, is, however, in a slightly better situation. It will continue to operate as a hospital mostly supported by sponsors.


CSEKE ATTILA, ADAMANT…


In spite of the general opposition, Health Minister Cseke Attila still claims the medical personnel of the converted hospitals is not going to be laid off, but rather redistributed to other health establishments if they refuse to stay on. In what regards the Cernavoda Hospital in Constanta County, Cseke says it will not be either merged with another one or converted, as initially established, because it belongs to a strategic plan in connection with the local nuclear power station. ‘I still have strong reservations about keeping it in the system, though’, the minister added. On the other hand, he also said that the list of hospitals waiting to me merges would be re-considered.

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