New hospital charges

NATIONAL HEALTH SERVICE patients began paying five euros a day for hospital internment to a maximum of 10 days and 10 euros for each surgical operation.

The consumer defence association DECO accused the government of creating a new health tax to finance the National Health Service based on the principle of pay-as-you-use.

A source from the Health Ministry said that one day’s stay in a main hospital costs the National Health Service 480 euros and a basic surgery costs the government and tax payer between 500 and 25,000 euros, adding that the vast majority of patients (55 per cent) were exempt from payments, among them the unemployed, HIV and cancer patients, pensioners, pregnant women and children up to the age of 12.

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