Transparency International Latvia has submitted proposals to Latvian President Valdis Zatlers on subjects that could be discussed in the context of improving the management of health care. TI Latvia and experts who were asked by the agency to help proposed the following issues:
- Accessibility of health care
- Exchange of information and transparency
- Prevention of corruption
- Establishment of professional standards of ethics
- Legal security for doctors and patients
- The ability of health care specialists to participate in management of the health care system
In its letter, TI Latvia has once again pointed to the absence of political will and leadership in this regard, considering this to be the cause for structural problems in health care. “There is a need for energetic management which can mobilise the introduction of new ideas and the participation of those who work in the sector,” TI Latvia has written. “There must be a process of change, and all of the major parties involved in health care must be prepared to take responsibility for those changes. The president of Latvia can become an important catalyst in support of changes, leaving the central role in implementing those changes to the Ministry of Health. It could establish a special consulting council to discuss and supervise the implementation of proposals.”
In its letter, TI Latvia has confirmed a promise made to the president during a meeting on August 28 – that it will work with the Presidential Chancery and the Ministry of Health to organise a public forum on ways in which the management of health care can be improved. The aim of the forum will be to establish a programmatic vision on the good governance in the health care sector, including as many interest groups in this process as possible. The forum is planned for late October or early November.
The initiative is based on the aforementioned meeting between President Zatlers with the Council members of TI Latvia and selected experts. In May, TI Latvia criticised the way in which the governing coalition nominated the president – a process which gave society only nine days to evaluate whether the candidate was appropriate for the job. TI Latvia continues to believe that unlawful payments to doctors and evasion of taxes on such payments are not acceptable to anyone who wants a good reputation. TI Latvia also believes that the State Revenue Service has violated the principle of equal attitude by offering a selective evaluation to the president on the duty of paying taxes. Since the election of the president, however, TI Latvia has declined to speak to Valdis Zatlers’ obligations in this regard, because the relevant government institutions have not yet completed their investigation. TI Latvia would remind everyone, however, that this uncertainty continues to threaten the institution of the presidency.
For these reasons, TI Latvia has now asked President Zatlers to undertake responsibility for moving forward with an initiative to improve the management of health care. At the August 28 meeting, TI Latvia representatives were convinced of the president’s good will to act and to undertake responsibility for this matter. TI Latvia believes that President Zatlers can use the authority of his office and his own personal competence as a doctor to achieve systemic improvements in health care – improvements that would offer significant benefits to every resident of Latvia and would make an investment in strengthening the institution of the presidency.
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