Major cuts planned in healthcare spending

Health minister Ab Klink is planning to cut hospital budgets by a total of €400m to help bring his department’s spending under control, the Financieele Dagblad reports on Friday.

The cuts are revealed in a letter sent to hospitals in July, which has been leaked to the media.
In the spring it emerged that the health ministry was over-spending by €1bn. Klink and finance minister Wouter Bos agreed to reduce spending slightly this year and spread the rest of cuts over the next three years.
The FD says half of the overspending is due to rising costs at hospitals and medical specialists.
Meanwhile, Trouw reports that the cabinet is planning to slash €600m from the budget for the elderly and residential care.
In particular services aimed at helping the elderly and people with a mental handicap to live alone – such as aid with shopping or cinema visits – are to be scrapped, a spokesman for the health ministry told the paper.
This sort of help was only available to people with a physical handicap until 2003. Since it was expanded to include the elderly and mentally handicapped, spending has soared and now accounts for around 12% of home care services, the paper said.

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