The European Investment Bank (EIB) is providing loans of up to EUR 180m for the establishment of 75 multi-professional and interdisciplinary primary health centres in Austria. The EIB financing is being made available to Austrian partner banks, which will also contribute up to EUR 180m, meaning that a total of up to EUR 360m in bank financing will be provided to primary health centres.

So far two partner banks – Erste Bank der oesterreichischen Sparkassen AG and Österreichische Ärzte- und Apothekerbank AG in cooperation with Volksbank Wien – have signed up to the project, and a third financial intermediary is also expected to join.

The project supports an initiative of the Austrian Federal Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs, Health and Consumer Protection for the restructuring of the Austrian primary health care system. The goal is to migrate certain services from hospitals to primary health centres to reduce the pressure on hospitals and ensure that people can access local care, with primary health centres across the country benefiting from the EIB financing.

At the signing ceremony in Vienna, Federal Minister Rudolf Anschober stated that with the cooperation of the various participants “an important milestone in the further development and long-term establishment of primary health centres in Austria has been achieved.” He said that together with the European Investment Bank, it had been possible “to organise financing to support those setting up new primary health centres in the future, substantially strengthening primary health care provision. This cooperation will enable major targets concerning comprehensive local care provision to be met.” 

EIB Vice-President responsible for operations in Austria Andrew McDowell said: “Health care sector financing is one of the EU bank's key priorities. The projects we support aim to provide people in Austria and other EU Member States with efficient access to safe and affordable health care services for prevention and treatment. I therefore very much welcome the cooperation agreement signed today on the long-term establishment of primary health centres in Austria, especially at a time when it is becoming increasingly difficult to provide care to patients.”

Österreichische Ärzte- und Apothekerbank AG CEO Anton Pauschenwein added: “As a bank for medical professionals, we are particularly pleased to be able to make, through our partnership with the EIB, a sustainable contribution that will benefit doctors, local authorities and ultimately the people of Austria.”

Gregor Deix, Head of Corporate Banking Austria at Erste Bank, considers advice and financing for entrepreneurs to be a key objective for Erste Bank und Sparkassen. “As a partner in this model project to create primary health centres, we are also making a major contribution to a person's greatest asset – safeguarding their health.”