"We could close 1 in 4 hospitals without a problem" Author: Michaël Torfs

VRT
Wed 05/04/2017 - 10:04 Michaël Torfs "We can easily close one in four Belgian hospitals without undermining health care services and accessibility." This was said by Luc Van Gorp, the president of the Christian Health Mutual (CM), in Het Belang van Limburg. His quote comes as Health Minister Maggie De Block (Flemish liberal) is trying to cut costs by making hospitals cooperate more.

"We have 108 hospitals in Belgium. Maggie De Block is calling for networking, a system under which hospitals have to cooperate in areas of some 500,000 people and have to send patients to one another, according to the specialty. This means that not every hospital needs to have the complete range of specialists. But we could go further", says Van Gorp.

"Without jeopardising health care services, we could easily manage if we close 1 in 4 hospitals." Van Gorp also suggests reducing the number of emergency services, cardiology clinics and maternities.

Van Gorp presses for a different finance system. At present, hospitals are receiving subsidies according to how many patients are being treated, which triggers overconsumption.