ISK 1 billion (USD 8.1 million, EUR 6.5 million) in state funding will go towards Landspítali National University Hospital in addition to the amount reserved for the hospital in the 2015 budget bill, as reported yesterday. Director of Landspítali Páll Matthíasson celebrates the news.
“It’s clear that we have to continue with restraint … but of course it’s a lot of money in addition to what we’ve been given for buying new equipment. The biggest news is additional funding for … new buildings on Landspítali’s land, which is … an important and positive message … that the government is prioritizing for the benefit of Landspítali and the healthcare system,” Páll said on RÚV radio program Morgunútvarpið this morning.
In total, additional funding of ISK 2.125 billion will go towards healthcare next year, of which ISK 875 million is earmarked for the design of a new Landspítali hospital.
Social Democrat MP and former Finance Minister Oddný Harðardóttir said on news magazine Kastljós yesterday that in spite of the additional funding, layoffs are imminent at Landspítali. The hospital is in need for ISK 3 billion but only gets one third of that amount, Oddný stated.
“When is enough enough?” asked Progressive Party MP Vigdís Hauksdóttir, who chairs the Alþingi parliament’s Budget Committee. Vigdís was also on Kastljós yesterday. She stated that funding to healthcare has increased in the last two budget bills of the current government. “And now we are underlining that Landspítali and healthcare are our absolute priority.”
Kastljós’ third guest, Bright Future MP Brynhildur Pétursdóttir, welcomed the additional funding, especially since part of it is going towards new treatment facilities. However, she is critical of the government’s work methods surrounding the budget bill as the ink had hardly dried when changes to it were introduced. “I find it a bit of a show-off,” she commented.
Vigdís had earlier explained that after the budget bill had been completed last summer, it became clear that the state’s revenue would be higher next year than originally assumed, which is why it has now been decided to attribute more funding to healthcare.
The education system will also receive additional funding of ISK 767 million, of which ISK 617 million will go towards the universities.