Health Minister Nicolae Banicioiu stated on B1TV that unless measures on stopping the migration of specialists are urgently taken Romania will run out of doctors in three years’ time.
“If real measures on stopping the migration of medical staff are not taken this year in three years’ time at most Romania will run out of specialists,” Banicioiu said.
The Health Minister agrees that high salaries are one of the attraction points for doctors that decide to leave Romania, but he claims the decision to freeze positions also had an important contribution.
“A lot of people ask me too – “but why did they leave?” Many were leaving because the competition with the West is disadvantageous for us. Over there a specialist doctor can end up earning several thousands of Euros per month. That financial motivation clearly exists. But, ironically, many do not leave for money,” Banicioiu said. However, he believes that the “scythe that cut off any hope” was in fact the decision to freeze positions within the medical system. “We drove them away. Because when we froze positions all the classes of doctors that graduated in Romania in 2010-2014 had to leave, having no possibility of finding a job in Romania. So we created the trend. This is forgotten,” Nicolae Banicioiu claims.
The Health Minister added that he unfroze the positions and hopes we will reach a level of approximately 5,000 persons hired in the system this year. Likewise, the minister emphasized that within the health system “a lot of mistakes were made in 2010.” “I am not talking only about the closing down of hospitals. Poorly thought-out. The reduction of wards, because existing hospitals were thrown into chaos back then, large hospitals in the public health system were thrown into chaos. It is for naught to close down the haematology ward in a regional centre. What are you going to do with those patients? You try to transfer them somewhere else, but you cannot drive them around so you spend more on the ambulance service. It’s total insanity. You finished off the treatment chains. Fine! They went to the counties. In some counties there were happy examples, in others…,” the Health Minister stated.
“Decentralization in the health system was not well regulated, because they forgot certain issues and wanted to implement it fast, in parallel with closing down hospitals and downsizing activity, with freezing positions within the system. So, why shouldn’t we say it, the biggest madness of the system was that in 2010 they froze positions within the health system,” the Health Minister added.
Nicolae Banicioiu also stated that, when it comes to treatments for Hepatitis C, Romania lags far behind and decisions should have been taken “ten years ago, not in 2014.” The official referred to the fact that Romania switched to double therapy – with interferons and ribavirin – at a time when other European states were giving up on it in favour of other therapies.