Parties seal deal on future health programme


Parties hammering out a coalition government programme sealed a deal on the last outstanding area of policy on Wednesday night. The three parties agreed on the broad lines of a future health policy, including the thorny issue of patient charges. Public Affairs’ demands that prescription charges for pharmacies should be abolished were pushed through. But they will stay in place for visits to doctors and be broadened regarding hospital stays and visits to specialists without a doctor’s recommendation. A new level of increased charges for higher levels of service will be introduced. Health was the last of seven chapters of the future government’s accord where an agreement had not been reached.