October 8, 2008

Polish Premier Says Parliament Not to Approve Referendum in Hospitals

Text of report in English by Polish national independent news agency PAP

Warsaw, 7 October: Prime Minister Donald Tusk said Tuesday that in his opinion the Polish parliament would not approve plans to hold a referendum on ownership transformations in hospitals.

The prime minister made the statement before President Lech Kaczynski delivered a televised address on Tuesday [6 October] evening. According to an unofficial source, the president is expected to suggest that such referendum should be held in Poland.

Tusk told reporters on Tuesday afternoon his government did not want to privatize hospitals. We want to transform them into commercial companies and place under local government, he stressed.

I do not think such solution requires a referendum. (...) And I do not think that the Polish parliament would now approve plans to hold such referendum, he said.

Prime Minister Tusk stressed his government "would not accept any moves that could delay the reform of Polish hospitals."

The prime minister stressed he hoped the president would "sooner or later" accept the course of changes in the health service planned by his government.

According to the PM, patients do not care whether hospitals are run by local governments, the state or a private owner. They just do not want to wait long for treatment, the prime minister said.

Head of the Democratic Left Alliance (SLD) caucus Wojciech Olejniczak told PAP his party supported a referendum on the health service reform and stressed SLD was against privatisation of hospitals.

Law and Justice's deputy Joachim Brudzinski said PiS was also against privatization of hospitals.

Originally published by PAP news agency, Warsaw, in English 1650 7 Oct 08.

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