Number of clinics in Vienna to dwindle

Political decision-makers in Vienna have revealed plans to drastically reduce the number of hospitals in the city.The Social Democrats (SPÖ) – who form a government coalition with the Greens in the federal capital – said yesterday (Thurs) that there should be just seven instead of the current 12 city-owned clinics by 2030.SPÖ Vienna Health Councillor Sonja Wehsely pledged the quality of services will deteriorate due to the reform. She also claimed none of the nurses, carers and doctors currently employed at city-managed hospitals needed to fear for their jobs.More than 14 per cent of the city of Vienna’s overall budget will be invested in its health sector this year, up from around 10 per cent nine years ago.A key factor of the SP֒s future health agenda will be the Northern Hospital in Floridsdorf district which will open in 2015. Three currently operating clinics in its vicinity will relocate to the new hospital which will feature around 850 beds.The AKH General Hospital – Vienna’s largest clinic – and the SMZ Ost are also considered as essential aspects in the party’s paper. Wehsely explained the  Rudolfstiftung, the Kaiser Franz Josef Clinic, the Wilhelminen Hospital / Otto Wagner Clinic and the Hietzing Hospital will be expanded or renovated to ensure high-standard services in the coming decades.The Viennese branch of the People’s Party (ÖVP) welcomed the SP֒s plans. The opposition party however stressed it needed to be seen whether the Social Democrats’ announcements were “more than just empty promises”.The presentation of the Viennese SP֒s health sector vision comes on the back of an intense debate over how to finance the growing costs in the federal health sector.