Ousted Bulgarian Health Minister: GERB Did Not Support Me

Health | March 20, 2012, Tuesday // 11:46|  views

Last week, Stefan Konstantinov became the third Health Minister in the GERB cabinet to call it quits. Photo by BGNES

Recently resigned Bulgarian Health Minister, Stefan Konstantinov, voiced discontent with the lack of Parliamentary support for a number of Bills he wanted to introduce in an effort to reform the healthcare sector.

Speaking in an interview for Nova TV Tuesday, he said the Members of the Parliament have clogged the instatement of the electronic health card of patients, the Bill for medical supplies and medications, and the full smoking ban.

"At the end one realizes that one cannot fight against everyone and resigns and the next Minister comes," said Konstantinov.

He labeled "amusing" statements of Prime Minister, Boyko Borisov that his successor at the post, Desislava Atanasova, nominated by the ruling Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria party, GERB, MP and Chair of the Parliamentary Health Committee, was the "heavy artillery arriving."

"After the heavy artillery fails we will need a nuclear weapon. This is not serious. Ms. Atanasova is a young lady with great ambition and goals she wants to pursue. What is important is that GERB support her, something that did not happen to me. Just check the press from October 2010. I sat alone at the bar during all this time. I was introduced in the Parliament by the Deputy PM, not Borisov. And she already had a great start – the PM personally introduced her to the President. These are advantages. I came at times when everyone wanted to strike. The so-called scandal with medication prices, said to be the reason for my dismissal is a bit overblown," Konstantinov told the host.

He further rejected reports that he sought conflict and fought with everyone, saying he believes in good communication, but not in compromise.

The ousted Minister informed he had been also attacked by the opposition and by people with lucrative interests in the healthcare sector, which were harmed by his effort.

Regarding future plans, Konstantinov pointed out he had a diploma, 20 years of professional experience as a gynecologist, and would not end up being unemployed. He voiced hope he would find a job in Bulgaria and vowed to support his successor.

Konstantinov, along with the one of Economy and Energy Minister, Traicho Traikov, submitted late Thursday evening their resignations, which were approved by the GERB Executive Committee.

The scandal around the Minister flared after it emerged that NZOK had paid BGN 6 M more for medications in 2011, compared to 2010, when the signing of the contracts was under the authority of the Health Ministry. Some of the medications had a price that skyrocketed 10 or more times in 2011.

Konstantinov insists he did not know about the above issue and was guilty only of overly trusting his also-dismissed Deputy, Gergana Pavlova, who was in charge of the medication policy of the institution.

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Tags: Desislava Atanasova, electronic health card, full smoking ban, resignation, resignations, GERB, pricing policy, medication prices, health minister, Boyko Borisov, Stefan Konstantinov, Gergana Pavlova, medications


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