CREDIT FOR MEDICAL EQUIPMENT NOT UTILIZED
Hospitals' directors shudder at the thought that the old X-rays may go out of order, as they lack money for spare parts and repair. At the same time, the Healthcare Ministry is not utitilizing a credit, ensured with Germany's mediation. The money is earmarked for replacement of the entire equipment for X-ray diagnostics in the country by the most state-of-the-art apparata of this kind, produced by Siemens. The credit, guaranteed by Bulgaria's Government, was ratified by Parliament back in 1996. The equipment, to be purchased by it, is worth DEM100MN, or close to EUR50MN.In 1996 a commission of radiologists, experts from the Ministry of Healthcare, and engineers, evaluated the available X-rays in Bulgarian hospitals and made a decision to exchange them by new equipment, the former healthcare minister Dr. Mimi Vitkova. The same commission was operating during the tenure of the next healthcare minister Peter Boyadjiev, who even paid a visit to Siemens' plants in Germany together with his deputy Stoiko Peevsky in order to get acquainted with the equipment, manufactured there. However, the visit did not yield any practical results, and the credit in kind has not been utilized until now.The incumbent Healthcare Minister Bozhidr Finkov and his personnel have put it into a siding, as it cannot be drained because only equipment will come under it, not cash, Dr. Dimitar Ignatov, MP from the UDF and long-time Chairman of the Bulgarian Doctors' Union, commented for the BANKER weekly. The same opinion was shared by Dr. Mimi Vitkova, representatives of the healthcare syndicates, UDF and BSP deputies, all of them members of the Paliamentary Healthcare Commission. Only two linear accelerators for radiating treatment of cancer have been purchased under the credit since 1996. One of them is in the University Hospital in Plovdiv, and the other - in the National Oncology centre in Sofia.The other medical establishments are still waiting for the new equipment. According to the estimates, 240 X-rays chould be replaced, Prof. Stefan Frantzov from the commission for the evaluation of the existing equipment, said. But the radiologists are still using them due to the lack of new equipment. The university and former regional hospitals in the country also expect to be equipped with nuclear-magnetic resonators. Such apparata are presently available only in the Alexandrovska Hospital, the Military Hospital, and the former Governmental Hospital in Sofia. Gama-camaras for radioisotope and nuclear checks and apparata for isotope diagnostics should be purchased as well. The BANKER weekly's inquiry to the Healthcare Ministry established that Minister Finkov knows about the credit. Let's hope that one day he may order its utilization.