Nicolas Maeterlinck

One in three hospitals in financial difficulties

One in three Flemish were in the red last year. That’s according to an audit of 51 hospitals across Flanders that forms the basis of an article in Saturday’s edition of the daily ‘De Tijd’.  The 51 general hospitals in Flanders made a total profit of just 60 million euro. 16 hospitals made losses during 2017.

The smaller hospitals have the most difficulty in balancing the books. The smallest 17 of our region’s 51 general  hospitals have not had any financial buffer for many years.

De Tijd’s Bart Haeck says that this has come about due to the way in which hospitals are financed

"Specialised, hi-tech care is financed quite well, while the same is not true of basic care. Small hospitals generally have less or no special care and as a result receive less funding.”  

Furthermore, the law of economy of scale also plays a role.

"Historical under-financing”

Flanders’ largest hospital group Zorgnet Icuro says that hospital are the victim of under-financing that dates back many years. Moreover, new measures and new technology have had cost implications for hospitals in recent years. These include the new electronic patient medical files and other digitalisation measures.        

Each year 8.5 billion euro of public funding goes to the hospital. The Federal Health Minister Maggie De Block (Flemish liberal) says that this will not be increased. Instead hospitals are encouraged to co-operate more with their nearest neighbours.