The Independent Health and Welfare Union on Wednesday issued a statement expressing concern about reform measures for the health system advocated by the Bridge reformist party.

The reform measures proposed by Bridge are not based on positive legislation and can dangerously confuse the public, the union said, citing as an example Bridge's advocacy of a collective agreement which, in the party's opinion, should stop the emigration of doctors.

"This could only mean one thing - that such an agreement will define some rights that doctors still don't have and other medical workers don't deserve. Such a statement is therefore very irresponsible, let alone the fact that it is contrary to legal regulations in force," said the union.

It also warned that the proposed strengthening of the role of community health centres did not necessarily mean the strengthening of the primary health care system "because after the privatisation in 1997, what has been left of community health centres is only their name while primary health care is provided by numerous private offices that operate with a licence on the premises of community health centres and that are difficult to coordinate."

Rationalising and financially stabilising the health system cannot be achieved by delegating some of the hospital services to community health centres because a change like that "will not change the fact that those services are provided by the same medical workers and the price is not defined by the quality of medical care but by the Health Insurance Institute," said the union.

As for Bridge's proposal that the system of health insurance and the hospital system should be reformed by involving doctors and employers' associations in collective bargaining, the union says that this reveals "a total lack of understanding of the subject matter and disregard for regulations."

Of all the reform measures proposed by Bridge, the union only supports "depoliticising" the health system and strategic investments, but not the construction of new hospitals.

"Has it not been said for years that we have too many hospitals? The quality of the system will not be raised by new hospitals but by investments in the existing system," the union said.

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