I attended the online general assembly of All-party Parliamentary Group for Japan’s Local Authorities’ Hospitals which was held on the morning of May 18. There are about 1,000 hospitals which are operated by the local authorities. Under the current spread of the coronavirus infections, doctors, nurses and the staff working in these hospitals have been very busy treating the patients who tested positive with the PCR tests and vaccinating as many people as possible against Covid-19. They have undoubtedly been playing an important role in coping with Covid-19. However, they are currently facing financial difficulties, the shortage of skilled workers, and the reduction of working hours under the government policy to promote work style reforms.
The general assembly of this parliamentary group is held once a year to support the local authorities’ hospitals in Japan. Chairman of this parliamentary group is Mr. Hiroyuki Hosoda, Member of the House of Representatives. At this general assembly, which was held online this year, Mr. Shinji Hirai, Governor of Tottori Prefecture and Chairman of the Japan Municipal Hospital Founders Association, presented a written request to the parliamentary group which asked for improvements in the medical environment, including an increase in the government’s budget to support the local authorities’ hospitals, the improvement of working conditions as well as an increase in the fixed personnel number, and special measures to cope with the current spread of coronavirus infections.
The spread of coronavirus infections has not yet ceased, and in some areas hospitals are said to be facing capacity crisis due to the surge of Covid-19 patients. The role of politics is becoming important in resolving those issues by all means and saving Japan’s reputation as a country with advanced medical care.