Health minister offers olive branch

19-02-2006

The Prime Minister Jiri Paroubek and Health Minister David Rath have promised to amend a controversial directive on health care payments, according to which doctors would receive more money for treatment as of April 1st. The health minister said this was made possible by the improving financial situation of the largest state owned health insurance company VZP. The insurer's debt is said to have dropped to 7 billion crowns, down from 14 billion in the previous year. Despite the announcement, doctors are going ahead with preparations for a massive demonstration against the health minister's radical reforms next Friday. They claim that the demonstration could only be averted by the health minister's resignation or dismissal. Pharmacists and patients are expected to support the protest action.