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Lawmakers agree: hospitals need more scrutiny

Lawmakers agree: hospitals need more scrutiny

by Yannick LAMBERT 29.04.2021
After irregularities with vaccinations drew attention to Luxembourg's decentralised hospital system
The Zithaklinik of the Robert Schuman Hospital Group
The Zithaklinik of the Robert Schuman Hospital Group
Photo credit: Guy Jallay

Lawmakers agreed to subject hospitals to better government scrutiny in the wake of several scandals and mishaps that became visible during the Covid-19 pandemic and the roll-out of vaccines.

Hospitals need to be more open about how they are spending taxpayers' money, parliamentarians from the government and opposition parties agreed on Wednesday during a debate requested by the leftist Déi Lénk.

Various cases of senior hospital officials jumping the queue for a Covid-19 vaccination have drawn attention to Luxembourg's decentralised hospital system, which - unlike for instance that of Israel or the UK - gives the healthcare sector plenty of leeway as to how it is organised.

In February, governing board members of the Robert Schuman hospital received a vaccination ahead of their turn and in March, the Centre Hospitalier du Nord in Ettelbrück, asked the public prosecutor to look into how its staff handed out the coronavirus vaccine, after reporting "potential irregularities".

The government commissioner for hospitals as well as the Court of Auditors should get greater powers to oversee hospitals, the parties said.

During the debate in parliament, Health Minister Paulette Lenert agreed that more transparency was needed, but she did not go into further details.  

Already in 2019, a report by the court - Luxembourg's budget watchdog - voiced concerns over a lack of insight into how hospitals were using public funds to modernise their operations.

All hospitals should have the legal structure of a foundation, the Left party said. Currently, they operate under regimes as diverse as a public establishment, a limited liability company, or a foundation. But the other parties rejected that idea. 

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