The massive health protests revealed a deep crisis in the system, a system that has run out of specialists due to low wages. The doctors left one by one, and now everything that means prevention, vaccination, checks in hospitals is in danger. Today, at “Pacient in Romania”, see who brought institutions of strategic importance for our country to the brink of collapse.
Rozalina Lăpădatu, president of the Patients’ Association: We will no longer have public health, if we can say that it represents public health. We won’t have any more, we saw during the pandemic that we no longer have experienced people.
The COVID pandemic showed how important the Public Health Directorates are for the proper functioning of the system, and the state seemed to understand and take measures to strengthen this area. But two years later, the system is one step away from running out of employees. They complain that they are few and poorly paid. For example, a DSP doctor earns 3 times less than a hospital doctor.
Cristina Barbu, doctor, sanitary inspector: We are very few and will be fewer and fewer. We are thinking of leaving DSPs, we will probably collapse, it will be hard for patients and the health system.
In order to understand the importance of these institutions for public health in Romania, it must be said that the specialists here are the ones who think up the medical routes in hospitals and check their compliance so that nosocomial infections do not endanger patients. And they are also the ones who make sure that the water from the public network does not make us sick.
Rozalina Lăpădatu, president of the Patients’ Association: For the patient, the non-existence of DSPs produces a major impact, they are institutions that check and make the routes in hospitals for nosocomial infections, they make those plans for pandemics. If DSPs no longer exist, what do we do?
Low salaries have left the Directorates of Public Health without specialists
Elena Hogioiu, DSP Argeş biologist: We could keep these health problems under control, thinking about the simple drinking water that is monitored weekly, throughout the county, what would happen if a water sample was undrinkable and ended up being consumed by the citizens of this County?
Low salaries have left the Directorates of Public Health without specialists. Half of them no longer have doctors on the control side and do the checks with assistants, engineers or biologists.
Aura Copciag, CDS Vâlcea: The quality of medical services, infections associated with medical care should be controlled by someone who has medical thinking and training, because otherwise he will not understand the medical act nor the relevance of the measures he will impose.
Cornelia Horebu is a hygiene assistant at the Department of Health Evaluation and Promotion within DSP Argeş. There are only 3 employees here, no doctor.
Cornelia Horebu, Assistant DSP Argeş: We’ve been like this since our only doctor retired. The idea is that we are very few, we are 3 people, one of whom is on vacation.
Marius Ungureanu, head of the Department of Public Health UMF Cluj: In these health promotion departments, which at the moment are almost decimated throughout the country, doctors and nurses can be employed. Ignoring DSPs has already been going on for several years. We have preventable diseases, we have preventable deaths.
According to the European Commission’s report on Health, Romania has the third highest preventable mortality rate in the European Union. This means that public health interventions and primary prevention were lacking.
Horea Timiş, doctor: They are of national strategic importance, the fact that there is no vision, or an understanding of their importance has led the system to where we are now.
„Effective public health means lower costs”
Horea Timiş worked for more than 10 years as a doctor in the public health system. But he left when he saw that things were not changing.
Horea Timiş, doctor: Effective public health in Romania means lower costs. We are moving into a commercial medicine, in which we build hospitals, but we do not look at the prevention part, and Romania has big problems in this line.
The Public Health Directorates are now sitting on a powder keg. The employees have been protesting for almost a week and are threatening to block the activity, due to the low salaries.
Octavia Hontaru, manager DSP Arges: Doctors will no longer come to work in the inspection departments at the salary of 4,700, 5 thousand lei per month. If we don’t have doctors, well-trained staff, we can’t guarantee well-performed checks.
4 years ago, the current Minister of Health drew attention to the fact that public health in Romania is on the way to extinction. Now, as a minister, he announces that the Public Health Departments will be regionalized.
Alexandru Rafila, Minister of Health: To be honest, I can’t help but understand the claims our fellow DSPs have. Retaining medical personnel is necessary, because you cannot do public health without people. I will do my best to find a solution.
According to the minister, the solution would be the harmonization of salaries between the employees of the Health Insurance Companies and those of the Public Health Directorates.