OPINION

The vicious circle of healthcare

The National Health System (ESY) is heading from one impasse to another and it is no exaggeration to say that the ship is starting to list very dangerously. Following the mess over doctors’ duty shifts (a problem that has not been solved yet), we are now seeing a problem with orthopedic supplies and hospitals will soon start running short of much-needed materials because suppliers have not been paid since 2005. The debt being run up by hospitals is constantly on the rise and the National Health System has found itself trapped in a vicious circle. Suppliers are getting their money’s worth as they inflate prices because they don’t know when they’re going to get paid, and these prices, in turn, increase hospitals’ debts. The larger the debt becomes, the longer the delay in payments, and the longer the delay in payments, the higher the prices charged. The government must do something to help ESY break out of this cycle and it must draw up a realistic plan for this to happen. It must put an end to the wasteful expenditures that have become endemic in the system and design a payment plan for suppliers. Then, it must proceed with a long-term strategy that will prevent this situation from being repeated.