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.
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.