Georgian PM, Health Minister discuss reference price expansion, nursing development in 2023 plans

Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili and Health Minister Zurab Azarashvili reviewed points on the agenda for this year. Photo: PM's press office, 01 Feb 2023 - 18:37, Tbilisi,Georgia

Plans for expanding the list of medicines under the reference price system, ensuring full functioning of a drug quality laboratory and approving a nursing development strategy were among healthcare system plans for 2023 discussed on Wednesday between Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili and Health Minister Zurab Azarashvili. 

The Government Administration said the two officials reviewed points on the agenda for this year, including:

  • Expanding the list of medicines regulated by the recently introduced reference price system
  • Implementation of the mechanism of Managed Entry Agreements directly with manufacturers of expensive medicines
  • Fully operationalising a drug quality laboratory
  • Improving state package for chronic medication
  • Approving an updated nursing development strategy
  • Extending the financing of the diagnosis-related group system to the entire universal health programme 
  • Introducing a direct method of purchasing drugs for oncological and rare illnesses from manufacturers 

The officials also discussed the hepatitis C elimination programme to involve screening of more than 590,000 people this year, with the goal of completely eliminating the virus across the country by 2026.

Other details of the meeting said the emergency service of the country would undergo the following changes this year:

  • Creation of a separate channels for ambulance response for stroke calls, to ensure specialised crews directly access the calls
  • Purchase of 70 new standard ambulance vans to ensure no vehicle older than five years is used in the domestic fleet
  • Construction of service centres in the cities and towns of Batumi, Khulo, Keda, Shuakhevi and Akhalkalaki, as well as construction of two new service centres in capital Tbilisi and rehabilitation of Ambrolauri service centre in the west
  • Connecting the dispatcher programme to the 112 emergency number programme to allow separation of lower priority calls and providing phone consultation to patients of the latter cases
  • Establishing a bachelor's programme for paramedics at the Tbilisi Medical University, in a bid to gradually replace emergency doctors with specialised paramedics

The Government will also review healthcare bills in the first quarter of the year, including legislative initiatives on human organ and human tissue and cell transplants, and a bill on assisted reproductive technology.

The Government Administration also said renovation of the Central Republican Hospital in Tbilisi and Kutaisi Clinic in the country's west would begin this year, in addition to about 100 outpatient clinics that will be renovated throughout the country.

Among plans for 2023 are the development of a medical holding plan, organisation of a state service for cancer in children and making dialysis services available in Khulo and Tsalenjikha in the west and Kvareli in the east of the country.