Key changes to the health system that will come into force on 1 January

The Ministry of Health informs about the most important changes that will come into force from 1 January 2024. They will help patients get to the doctor faster and get the services they need, while increasing doctors' salaries and reducing the administrative burden. It will also improve the availability of antibiotics and some medical supplies for the population.

From the start of next year, the basic cost of antibiotics that are essential for patients, which have so far been partially reimbursed only for children and the disadvantaged, will be reimbursed at 100% and doctors will be able to prescribe them to all patients who meet the conditions for prescribing the product and the reimbursable indications. These antibiotics, which are included in the A list of reimbursable medicines, will be available for the treatment of acute upper respiratory tract infections, acute bronchitis, infectious diseases of the ear, bacterial diseases, endocarditis, infectious diseases of the skin and subcutaneous tissues, and other diseases.

The Compulsory Health Insurance Fund (CHIF) will reimburse hearing aids, prosthetic eyes, and orthodontic appliances at higher rates, as well as the rental of insulin pumps for patients with type 1 diabetes, for whom it is essential for home healthcare.

By removing unnecessary administrative requirements, chronically ill patients will get the services they need more quickly, and doctors will have to do less paperwork. Doctors will no longer need to draw up lists of patients for long-term health monitoring and a referral to a specialist will only need to be made once by a family doctor.

Enabling nurses and midwives to provide independent consultations to patients, prescribe tests, comment on test results, discuss self-monitoring measures and the use of medicines will help to reduce queues at GPs. The GP or another member of the GP team responsible for registering patients will be able to refer patients to a nurse or midwife after assessing the reason for the referral.

Doctors, nurses, and other health workers will see an average pay rise of at least 10% next year. This was made possible by the increase in the basic prices of personal health care services, which was introduced by order of the Minister of Health as of 1 November this year. This means that healthcare institutions will receive more funds from the PSDF and will be able to use them to increase staff salaries.