ZAGREB, October 4, 2018 – The Croatian government on Thursday proposed that the parliament refuse a motion for a no-confidence vote in Health Minister Milan Kujundžić, dismissing in its entirety the motion submitted to the parliament by 31 opposition lawmakers in late September.
The motion was signed by deputies of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), MOST, the Croatian Peasant Party (HSS) and the Živi Zid.
Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said the government had analysed the motion in detail and elaborated its position on each of the points stated in it. “Minister Kujundžić and I will talk about that topic in the parliament,” the prime minister said.
Kujundžić described the opposition’s motion as a populist move. “They criticise us over problems inherited from before, over problems we have already removed or are working on. They have again shown that they don’t quite understand the matter and that they evidently prefer populism to serious discussions on the health system,” said the minister.
The government’s 20-page statement on the opposition’s motion contains 26 answers to the opposition’s claims that Kujundžić has not done anything or has not done enough with regard to emergency medicine, primary health care, preventive medicine, and the financing and organisation of the health system and the hospital system.
“As can be seen from these 26 answers, this government did not lose a single moment to remove the existing shortcomings through specialist training, construction and equipment of out-patient clinics and emergency wards, procurement of expensive equipment throughout the country, making of a plan for hospital development, construction of hospitals in Rijeka and Pula, and by launching construction work on a national children’s hospital and a national university hospital in Zagreb,” the government said in its response.
The opposition MPs accused Kujundžić of failing to reorganise the Croatian Health Insurance Institute (HZZO) and categorise health institutions and have them accredited while the government responded that the HZZO ensured full rights for vulnerable groups, such as full health care for children until the age of 18, as well as for persons with chronic psychiatric conditions and malignant and infectious diseases, including conditions related to HIV infections, coverage of full treatment of injuries at work and occupational diseases, preventive health care for school-age children, students, women, persons above the age of 65 and persons with disabilities, as well as health care related to organ transplantation programmes.
The government also says that the HZZO entirely ensures mandatory vaccination, immunoprophylaxis and chemoprophylaxis, hemodialysis, emergency non-hospital medical care, palliative care, at-home care, medicines from the HZZO basic list of drugs, and health visitors.
“Over the past years, the HZZO did not receive full budget funds defined by the relevant regulations and calculations of real costs of medical services that are provided annually. That has affected, to a certain extent, the financial operation of the health system. Even though in 2018 the HZZO’s budget allocation has increased significantly (by 20%), from 2.5 billion to three billion kuna, that is still not the entire amount of funds that needs to be allocated to the HZZO under the relevant regulations (1.3-1.5 billion is lacking),” the government said in its answer.
By cutting costs, the HZZO has managed to restore to its list of drugs and list of especially expensive drugs a large number of newly-registered, so-called smart drugs, the government said.
For the sake of better standardisation of public procurement procedures, the Health Ministry has set up a central public procurement system which “has enabled better control of those procedures.”
As for the categorisation of health care institutions, the government said the procedure would be launched upon the adoption of the Health Care Act and new regulations on the categorisation of hospitals.
With regard to the accreditation of medical institutions, the government said that the Agency for Quality and Accreditation in Health Care and Social Welfare was in charge of it and that a project would be carried out to establish an accreditation system for hospitals. The accreditation process will cover 15 public hospitals that will be selected in a public procedure, the government said.