The Georgian government unveiled a plan on January 15 to invest a total of GEL 520 million (about USD 302 million) in the construction of up to 100 new hospitals and outpatient clinics across the country in the next three years.
While speaking at a session of the governmental commission in charge of healthcare reforms, Georgian Prime Minister Zurab Nogaideli said that new hospitals will be built in all regional centers, including 23 in the capital, Tbilisi.
“What we have now is a poor healthcare system and poor healthcare infrastructure, and the absence of proper economic principles in this sector. Doctors, patients and the government are all dissatisfied with the current situation; so there is a broad consensus in society to restructure the current system,” MP Zurab Nogaideli said while presenting the plan on January 15.
He said that GEL 350 million will be spent on the construction of hospitals and GEL 170 million for the construction of outpatient clinics.
Economy Minister Giorgi Arveladze said that the plan envisages the attraction of part of the funding for the project from the privatization of public hospitals in Tbilisi.
The government will include the construction of at least one medical center in provincial regions by investors as a term of privatization.
“The major principle is that each patient across Georgia should be able to reach the closest medical center in 30 minutes,” Arveladze said.
“The relocation of current [public] hospitals to new buildings will take place by 2009, according to the plan,” Lado Chipashvili, the Minister for Healthcare and Social Issues, said.
The government’s plan to privatize public hospitals in Tbilisi has been met with trepidation by many doctors, who fear that the process could leave them without jobs.
But the Healthcare Minister has downplayed these fears, saying that “professional doctors will be needed to work in the new hospitals.”