Repeated tragedies in the Romanian hospitals have brought back into the spotlight the issue of reforming the healthcare system.
Neglected for too many years, the Romanian medical system needs to be reformed. The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed even more glaringly the system's shortcomings: underfunding, insufficient beds for patients, inadequate conditions, under-staffing. That is why, on Monday, almost 100 representatives of the Sanitas trade union federation gathered in front of the government building to protest and cry out their discontentment.
The trade unionists accuse the authorities of indifference to the system's problems and are asking for pay rises and leveling inequities and also for unblocking the hiring process. They are also asking for a national strategy of investments in the healthcare system.
Aurelia Constantin, the vice-president of the 'Sfanta Maria' Hospital Organization was among the protesters: “Fortunately, I am working in a well-equipped hospital, but there are hospitals in Romania where no investments whatsoever have been made in 30 years”.
In turn, Viorel Huşanu from Sanitas Bucharest pointed out that: "We are understaffed, we need more personnel to take care of the COVID-19 patients at least, because everyone knows that you need special equipment for the COVID-19 patients and you spend 4 hours at the most in that hazmat suit.”
Viorel Huşanu criticizes the authorities for doing nothing all these years for the healthcare system, and so people are dying. He referred to the recent tragedies that have occurred in several hospitals from Romania. A fire broke out last November at the intensive care unit of the Emergency Hospital in Piatra Neamt (in the northeast) that was followed by last week's fire at the most modern infectious diseases hospital in Romania, 'Matei Bals' from Bucharest.
In both incidents patients burned to death! The tragedy at Matei Bals hospital made the opposition parties PSD – the Social Democratic Party and AUR - the Alliance for the Union of Romanians to ask for the resignation of the current health minister, Vlad Voiculescu who has announced several measures.
Vlad Voiculescu: “We will try to render the personnel scheme more flexible and revise the personnel norms, especially in the sections where COVID-19 patients are being treated. This is an emergency. We will create the national fund for patients' safety in hospitals. This means a fund dedicated for certain actions, for investments and also for separate funding of certain types of maintenance. These issues are still under debate.”
The health minister also says they will accelerate the projects for building regional hospitals in Iasi (northeast), Cluj (northwest) and Craiova (south). (tr. L. Simion)