Press Conferences

29. 5. 200714:17

Press conference of the PM of the CR, Mirek Topolánek after the meeting with Minister Tomáš Julínek and members of the Council Providers on 29.5.2007

Jana Bartošová, government spokesperson: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the press briefing after the meeting of the Prime Minister with the Minister of Health, Mr. Tomáš Julínek and members of the Council of Providers. I give the floor to the Prime Minister first.

Mirek Topolánek, Prime Minister of the Czech Republic: Good afternoon. As an introduction I must say that the discussion with the Council of Providers, which comprises representatives of various associations that represent range of professions – rescue services, paediatricians, general practitioners, nurses, stomatologists, all the professional part of the primary and ambulatory care and provision of health care – I must say that I am very content with the discussion, in spite of the fact that we could not avoid debate on those measures that are being prepared and that are part of the first stage of stabilization of public finances. The debate concerns far more the outlook and in this respect we are in agreement over number of steps, which are necessary to be taken. I do not want to say that we are not in agreement over the "zero step", which we do not regard as a real reform and it concerns measures that Tomáš Julínek incorporated into the government package. I really think that there is a consensus regarding the fact that we are going in the right direction and we are debating just issues of a technical character, we are debating their fulfilment and impacts. Nevertheless, I was very content with the discussion.

Jana Bartošová, government spokesperson: Thank you and now the Minister of Health, Mr. Tomáš Julínek has the floor.

Tomáš Julínek, Minister of Health: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. The Council of Providers is a body, which associates, as the Prime Minister has already said, representatives of associations and I use this body for the basic communication of the Ministry of Health. We held an extraordinary session today in the premises of the Office of the Government and with the Prime Minister, in order the Prime Minister could have an idea what the individual requirements or positions of the respective groups to changes in health service are. I think I can state that we are in agreement over the fact that it is necessary to make changes in the sphere of health service that the most significant changes are only ahead of us, in particular the change of the insurance system, changes concerning insurance companies, and therefore we need more stable atmosphere. I also know that heavy burden lies on the ambulance sector, because it concerns collection of the individual fees; it mostly concerns the private sphere. It means that they have certain objections regarding certain matters of a technical character. We have a lot of time to communicate on the details. I intentionally outlined the law in general, in order to prepare space for discussions and a consensus, so that we could solve these problems in those bilateral relationships – the Ministry of Health – providers – insurance companies – or in relationships that could be expected in the future between patients and health service facilities. It means that we were looking ahead, in spite of the fact that the Prime Minister could hear certain objections, which had appeared in media; but I am of the opinion that all of us know that these measures are the first step, which will be assessed and that more important matter is the change of the health service system all of us are looking forward to.

Jana Bartošová, government spokesperson: I thank the Minister of Health and it will be Mr. Vladimír Dvořák, who will be speaking on behalf of the Association of Private Gynaecologists.

Vladimír Dvořák, Association of Private Gynaecologists: Good afternoon. So as not to go into details, I would mention basic conclusions of that meeting, which was really representative both from the side of the state and from the side of providers, as it has been already said; it means that nobody doubts necessity of reforms, nobody doubts that there was a great delay and that the direction, which is outlined is the direction, which is chosen by advanced countries; I mean that strengthening of the role of a patient is a key one. On the other hand it cannot be glossed over that there are certain partial problems of various groups of providers, which are of a technical character and concern relations to the ministry. The ministry agrees that there are certain issues to be discussed. I do not regard these issues as essential ones but it is necessary to work on them in the future. But the principal message is – the reform is necessary and anybody of us is diverted from it.

Jana Bartošová, government spokesperson: Thank you and now Mr. Robert Zeleňák, the Chairman of the Association of Medical Rescue Services will add information.

Robert Zeleňák, Chairman of the Association of Medical Rescue Services: Good afternoon. Ladies and gentlemen, I am a representative of the second part of the health service organizations; they involve employees – not the private sector; it means that the most debated issue of the reform, unfortunately the most debated one, concerns fees, which will mean one great contribution, as we suppose, a high quality regulation and significant restriction of unnecessary care, which will be provided by healthcare facilities. I would like to ask all of you not to take only those fees into consideration, as it is presented now in media. Those fees are really only a part, a small part of the entire reform and they are very important because thus we will succeed in achieving such a system for the first time after in our history, after some 70 years. We have been calling for them a lot of years because of the only one reason; not because our earnings, but because of, you can but you need not believe me, because of regulation of unnecessary care, extremely expensive care, which is not necessary to be provided. Therefore we are glad that for the first time in our history it was put through and we hope it will be put into practice, as well. Thank you.

Jana Bartošová, government spokesperson: I thank you and now there is time for your questions.

Petr Vašek, Hospodářské noviny: Good afternoon. If I understood well all of you were in agreement that fees were necessary, but I want to ask whether you solved any problems which providers had regarding those fees, it means administrative burden, pharmacists did not want to collect fees, and such like; were you in agreement regarding this issue?

Mirek Topolánek, Prime Minister of the Czech Republic: I think that the best thing is to explain that issue by a laic and it is me regarding this issue. All of us were in agreement regarding fees and we agreed that even those technical problems, which are being mentioned absolutely absurdly by media, are the least problem of the health services and that we would manage them during introduction of the system quite easily.

Jana Bartošová, government spokesperson: The Minister of Health.

Tomáš Julínek, Minister of Health: I just add information; in spite of the fact the bill is not adopted, negotiations are being held with the individual groups and we are solving these technical problems and we are trying to revoke certain interpretations of the bill, which would not be applicable in the practice, so that we could solve only those technical issues, which are necessary to be solved between healthcare facilities and insurance companies. It also concerns certain issues that have been brought up by the individual providers. Therefore we are rather explaining problems and there is a space for solution, of course. Therefore the bill was composed like this, so that records of fees could be agreed by insurance company directly wit the concrete group. We cannot describe in the law specific situation of general practitioners and specialists or paediatricians or stomatologists; you may wonder, but these groups have different methodology, different particularities and it is necessary to take them into consideration in the course of negotiations with insurance companies.

Jana Bartošová, government spokesperson: Thank you, further question, please. There are no further questions and so we thank you. Good-bye.