Opposition MPs say “ghost hospitals” cost millions
Two opposition MPs have criticised the Polish government for pumping hundreds of millions into 30 makeshift Covid-19 hospitals, of which 13 had not treated any patient as of end-January.
Dariusz Joński and Michał Szczerba of the main opposition grouping, the centrist Civic Coalition (KO), organised a press conference on Friday to present their findings concerning the additional coronavirus hospitals that the government has built to tackle a wave of infections.
Speaking of the 13 vacant hospitals, Szczerba said that "the National Health Fund has declared them inactive, and the sum spent on medical treatment there amounts to zero."
He added that "we're dealing with ghost hospitals."
The two MPs named five inactive temporary hospitals whose construction cost Polish taxpayers most, including one in Wrocław (PLN 75 million, EUR 16.7 million), in Poznań (PLN 39.7 million, EUR 8.8 million), in Kraków (PLN 35.7 million, EUR 7.9 million), in Łódź (PLN 19.3 million, EUR 4.3 million) and in Szczecin (PLN 25.9 million, EUR 5.8 million).
"In our opinion it is a blatant example of wastefulness," Szczerba said.
Joński said the makeshift hospitals had been built too late, when the autumn wave of the coronavirus epidemic was already sweeping across the country, and so "a large part of the money has been wasted."
The parliamentarians said they had learnt about the construction cost of 20 of the 30 makeshift hospitals, which totals PLN 547.2 million (EUR 121.7 million).
The government has argued that temporary hospitals are a safeguard against a rapid growth of infections and that every country should be prepared for any contingency.