Health minister who appointed Ciuhodaru to the job earlier in the week seems upset at the fresh appointee’s “going over my head”.
By Daniela Baragan
Things are getting pretty sticky at the Ministry of Health (MS), as dismissals and ministerial appointments kept making headlines over the past three days. Just two days after being appointed as honorary health adviser, Tudor Ciuhodaru, a National Union for the Progress of Romania (UNPR) deputy and trained doctor, was relieved of his duties yesterday by none other than Health Minister Ladislau Ritli himself, who appointed him to that position. The announcement was made by Health Ministry spokeswoman Oana Grigore, who made the point that with Vasile Cepoi’s and Andrei Georgescu’s appointment as state secretary and under secretary of state respectively, the team in charge of emergency medical assistance issues is complete. Grigore skirted around what were the real reasons behind Ciuhodaru being relieved of his duties, whether the Iasi-based doctor’s statements and actions during the couple of days before his cut-short appointment, namely the Victoria Palace meeting with PM Emil Boc, where he introduced Vasile Cepoi and Andrei Georgescu to the premier, in the minister’s absence, upset Minister Ritli.
Mediafax quoted political sources confirming such supposition. “His boasting about introducing the two doctors < Cepoi and Grigore> nominated for ministerial leadership positions, to Traian Basescu and Premier Emil Boc, deeply annoyed the health minister, and the leaders of the Democratic Union of Hungarians in Romania (UDMR) too, which in turned triggered his dismissal. By and large, Ciuhodaru’s public statements after being named honorary adviser, offended the UDMR, as well as government and even medical decision makers,” the sources also said, adding that Ciuhodaru presenting himself, publicly too, as the boss of the two doctors <whose appointments were signed by the PM Wednesday evening>, including them among the members of his team, also led to his sacking.
Ciuhodaru’s remark discontented doctor Andrei Georgescu too, who complained about it to Catalin Carstoiu, among others, Bucharest University Hospital manager and godson of Traian Basescu. “Boc had permanent consultations with Ritli, and it was not Ciuhodaru who made the proposals, as he suggested,” the sources also said. During a “Romania TV” programme yesterday, UDMR Deputy Marton Arpad confirmed the Union being flustered by Ciuhodaru,. Marton Arpad also said the honorary adviser position does not even exist actually. Speaking of Ciuhodaru, Marton Arpad had this to say: “This deputy, who has joined over time all the legislative groups, even twice, sometimes, makes weekly statements all over the place, which is a known fact”.
Ciuhodaru: This change, a political decision
No longer so garrulous as on the day of his appointment and those that preceded it, Tudor Ciuhodaru merely said yesterday that he was not clinging to posts, adding that the “emergency” situation at the Health Ministry, for which he had been called, “got resolved”. “No problem, I don’t cling to posts. It was but a honorary position anyway,” Ciuhodaru said. Without making any suggestion he would be upset at yesterday’s decision, he added he is a trained doctor and a deputy and will run a campaign for Iasi mayor. Contacted by Realitatea TV, he described his sacking as politically minded.
Having met the health minister at the ministerial headquarters, Vasile Astarastoae, president of the Doctors’ College in Romania (CMR), yesterday described the new health bill as a “very good decision”, adding he couldn’t understand what kind of advice the lawmaker could have given the minister. Also, Astarastoae held he knew from “absolutely sure sources” it was not Ciuhodaru who had recommended Dr. Vasile Cepoi for the post of state secretary. Referring to the UNPR deputy, Social Democratic Party (PSD) President Victor Ponta called him an “exotic character”, and wondered what the lawmaker and “serious things” had in common. “By appointing Ciuhodaru to the position of honorary health adviser, the Government proved “being in a crisis of both inspiration and seriousness,” Ponta said, who added it is “private interests surrounding” the head of state and the Democratic Liberal Party (PDL) that lie behind President Traian Basescu’s attack against the emergency medical system. Speaking of the health bill, he emphasised the Union going to oppose Government assuming responsibility for the draft law. The day before this statement, National Liberal Party Vice-President Mihai Voicu had said that the Social-Liberal Union (USL) would notify the Constitutional Court were the bill to pass in its current form. Also, former state secretary Aurel Nechita, the dean of the Faculty of Medicine and Pharmacy in Galati, said that Raed Arafat would return to a high ranking decision making position. “Doctor Arafat centralized everything into his hands and his successor will find it quite difficult to manage what the former has built.” Also yesterday, Vasile Cepoi, the new health state secretary, said there is “nothing to fear” about private entities getting involved in emergency system, given it is not the system that would turn private but the focus is on private access to the system, with the issue at stake being up to which level that involvement could go. He insisted that private operators cracking the market will be very well regulated by the new law. Cepoi also said that, while the bill should be up for expert debate, risk evaluation is also necessary, which could only be quantified in a public debate.
PDL spokesman Sever Voinescu said that PDL had nothing to do with Ciuhodaru’s dismissal, as the health minister is “sovereign” in this respect. Asked whether UDMR disagreed with Ciuhodaru’s appointment, Voinescu said: “We should ponder over it”.
UDMR doesn’t agree with the confidence vote on Health Law
UDMR President Kelemen Hunor said yesterday, in a press conference, that the Union will not support a possible initiative by the government to take responsibility for the new draft law of Health, which must be publicly debated and then also put on debate by the Parliament. “We need reform in the Health system. We need a rethinking, a resettling, but the beneficiary must be the citizen, whose health should come first,” the Culture minister said. According to Kelemen, UDMR will analyse the draft law and will submit amendments for each chapter.