Hospital service commercialisation braked

Plans to allow hospitals to pay dividends to shareholders have been watered down following protests from the coalition Labour party (PvdA), the Financieele Dagblad reports on Thursday.

Last year, the Dutch health council recommended a five year trial begin in 2010, saying it would allow hospitals to attract private capital and improve their performance.
But in a letter to parliament, health minister Ab Klink says further research is necessary to decide under what conditions shareholder payouts could be made. And he does not set a date for the trial to begin. Earlier versions of the letter included the date 2011, the FD says.
In addition, the minister uses the term ‘result-dependent compensation for risk-bearing capital’ rather than dividend, the paper points out.
Labour MPs are unhappy about the plan to let hospitals pay dividends. ‘We do not see what problem it would solve,’ health spokesman Eelke van der Veen was quoted as saying.
On Monday, justice minister Ernst Hirsch Ballin published other proposals to allow semi-public sector organisations to turn themselves into ‘social enterprises’ which will also be able to attract private capital and pay out dividends.
Nos tv points out that the liberalisation of the home help sector resulted in a fiasco, with managers paying themselves large salaries and little improvement in healthcare standards.
Klink wants to keep cowboys out, Nos says. ‘Capital providers who are only after short-term results have no place in healthcare,’ Klink’s letter states.
The new corporate structure is meant for housing corporations, health care institutions and hospitals, schools and other entities which are currently set up as foundations and associations. Shareholders will also be able to name members of the supervisory boards, Hirsch Ballin said.

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