Romania: Former Health Minister Vlad Voiculescu blasts PM in first appearance after ousted

Two days after being ousted by Florin Cițu, former Health Minister Vlad Voiculescu spoke out against the Prime Minister, who he said had become the country’s first epidemiologist and devalued the work of an entire team.

At a nearly two-hour press conference at USR-PLUS headquarters, at which he also invited Dr. Andreea Moldovan, who was also fired, Voiculescu spoke of a series of mental conflicts during his 113 days in office and the deep politicization of all his system, which reacts when disturbed.

He complained that Florin Cițu did not have “even a conversation” with him about what he had accused him of after the eviction, adding that “what the Prime Minister did with the team at the Ministry of Health is a misery: Not only inappropriate, but also “It is immoral and politically miserable,” he said.

Vlad Voiculescu thanked everyone on the front line, the doctors, the nurses, the ambulance staff and his team. He expressed his gratitude to Mrs. Andrea Moldovan, who described her as an excellent professional before giving her the floor.

The former Undersecretary stressed that she particularly appreciated that she was not elected for political reasons but because of her professional knowledge. She expressed hope that the programs she started would continue and, regarding the quarantine decree, she clarified that this had been the subject of high-level discussions for two days in a row, in the presence of the head of the National Institute of Public Health. (INSP) Adriana Pistol and Raed Arafat. The plan was approved unanimously, I did not act unilaterally, it was a team effort, she argued.

Vlad Voiculescu stressed that he was constantly in conflict with opposing mentalities, but that was also why we got into politics, he said; to change mentalities.

Among other things, he said he still fears for the people of this country, whom politicians see not only as voters, but also for the people within the system. He stated that the Prime Minister himself reigned as the first epidemiologist in the country, while later adding that Florin Ciţu is not the Prime Minister that Romania needs at the moment. Voiculescu advised the Prime Minister, in his capacity as interim Minister of Health, to review the methodology of reporting deaths when the PNL was in power because they did not describe and deal with the situation at Unifarm, where the biggest robbery occurred during the pandemic. For a related question, he stressed that he did not think Raed Arafat was sabotaging him.

He also spoke of the terrible weaknesses in central and provincial institutions, highlighting in particular the inability to coordinate and systematic shortcomings. He said he had taken a health system into collapse, admitted some mistakes, condemned the stance of some politicians and part of the press, noting that the prime minister had abused his power for political motives. “I thought we were out of the epic era, but I was wrong about that too,” he said. (…) The opening of schools became a permanent responsibility to the Ministry of Health. The responsibility for evacuating (the hospital) Foișor clearly belonged to someone else, he said. I let these things go and I think I was wrong. At every step, wherever you look in the health system, at every level you find people who are placed on one side or the other. Most positions in the Directorates of Public Health, in hospitals, are held by people appointed by political criteria, who obey political orders. This is the biggest problem in the health system right now. “

He then listed his work in the field of health, for burn victims, tests in schools and pharmacies, increasing compensation for vaccination in private clinics, raising the ceiling to feed patients in hospitals, spreading the flu vaccine, restoring the list of medicines, the solution of problems related to the supply of medicines and the increase of ICU beds to 1,687.

“At the same time,” Voiculescu said, “I froze, amid the health crisis, increased costs and expenses for the Press. I do not think we should have continued what happened last year.”

“There is a need for depoliticization,” the former minister said, “and the Ministry of Health tried to do it. (…) I will ask the Interim Minister, who is also the Prime Minister, to review the death toll.” The research we have started reveals major differences between the reported data and the actual data.This and the situation in UNIFARM, which received 1.2 billion by urgent government decree, are two issues that need to be clarified, in particular “Because they are affiliated with the party that supports the prime minister.”

Voiculescu also stated that the decree signed by Undersecretary Andreea Moldovan with the new quarantine criteria did not need CNSU approval. It’s just a pretext, he said. Dr. Moldovan explained the procedure, the former health minister said at a press conference in Parliament.

Asked why he did not sign the decree and why the Prime Minister was not informed about the matter, he said that quarantine was not the responsibility of the Ministry of Health (…) and that the Prime Minister should have been informed by the head of DSU, Raed Arafat.

He also said that Alexandru Rafila had personally disappointed him and that the complaints he was receiving had to do with communication, referring to a media lynching for months.

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