How much do you trust your local public hospital? In Romania, 25,5% of the population isn’t happy with the current state of health care. This number comes mostly from the gap between rural and urban areas, as 90% of hospitals are located in urban areas.
Hospital infrastructure in the country is aged and fragmented. Some hospitals, including the Clinical County Emergency Hospitals in Iasi, Cluj-Napoca and Craiova, operate from a number of separate buildings, some kilometres away from each other.
Overall, the standard of equipment and availability of new technologies is lower than in advanced European countries, and modern services tend to be concentrated in larger urban areas. This undermines health care quality and efficiency and increases costs for the health care system and its users.
To strengthen the country’s health care system, improve hospital infrastructure and provide quality services to its users, the European Investment Bank’s Project Advisory Support Service Agreement (PASSA) team is working closely with the Romanian Ministry of Health to build three new regional hospitals and adapt the current healthcare system.
Hospitals in Bucharest serve 60 000 people per year from Iasi, Cluj-Napoca and Craiova. “These patients must travel for long distances – a trip to Bucharest from Iasi or Cluj takes up to seven hours, which imposes costs, efforts and sacrifices for whole families,” Cristina Gafton, director of Regional Hospitals Directorate in the Ministry of Health in Romania. “When the three regional emergency hospitals are functional, many of the 60 000 patients and families will no longer need to travel, which will make the numbers drop.”
The four-year-long project is expected to cost around €1.6 billion, with the Bank lendning close to €930 million and providing additional technical assistance.
“This project has come a long way,” says Martin Schriever, a senior advisor at the European Investment Bank. “The old buildings were more like prisons with thick cement walls, making it close to impossible to use modern equipment in them. It’s safe to say that these projects will change the lives of many people for the better.”
Meeting local health care needs
The investment is of major importance for the populations of these regions. It will improve the quality and efficiency of medical services by providing modern infrastructure and equipment, while also reducing inequalities in access to health care.