Bulgaria Health Minister Nominee Set to Quench Protests
Stefan Konstantinov, who was nominated on Thursday as the country's new health minister, has expressed hopes that the government is a step away from a solution to the funding row that has put hospitals in debt.
"I have set no conditions for my appointment. I just want to be free enough to implement the needed reforms and hope that I will receive political support even if these reforms are painful. I can see that the most urgent problem, the financial woes that the hospitals are going through, will soon be solved," Stefan Konstantinov told reporters after he was presented in parliament.
The statement was made in response to an earlier announcement by Finance Minister Simeon Djankov that the government will allocate additional BGN 65 M to the health care sector this year in a bid to prevent the upcoming protests of the doctors.
"My strongest argument for taking up this post is my will to see real reforms in the health care sector, so that it is better both for patients and doctors," he added.
The nomination for new health minister will be put to the vote in parliament on Wednesday.
Bulgaria's prime minister nominated Stefan Konstantinov for new health minister a day after Health Minister Anna-Maria Borisova gave in to calls for her resignation and quit in the face of public anger.
The government has come under tremendous criticism for foot-dragging in health care reforms as the National Health Insurance Fund has had to receive additional subsidies from the state budget, and the government has discussed shutting down dozens of hospitals in small towns around the country.
In mid September, the Doctors' Union declared they will stage a national protest on October 15, 2010, demanding the resignations of the Health Minister and the Finance Minister over the troubles in the health sector.
Meanwhile the opposition socialists are preparing a no confidence vote against the government because of its public health policy.
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