Health Minister: I Am Against Radical Measures

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New Health Minister Milan Kujundžić speaks about his plans.

New Health Minister Milan Kujundžić gave an interview on Saturday in which he spoke about his plans for the Ministry and reforms in the Croatian healthcare system, reports on October 29, 2016.

“I have been part of the healthcare system for more than 30 years and believe that people should not run away from difficult assignments. I will not make any radical steps, I am not a person who would promise major reforms or anything radical. I do not think something dramatic should happen with our healthcare system, because Croatia is not lagging behind developed countries. I will try to bring everybody together, without partisan or ideological prejudices”, said the Minister.

“According to information I have gathered so far, the total debt in the healthcare system is 3.5 billion kuna. Every month we have a deficit of about 120 million kuna, which is about a billion and a half kuna a year. Healthcare costs are increasing by an average of 5-8 percent per year in other countries as well. However, I believe we can make a step forward through rationalizations and see if we can use joint public procurement procedures to buy drugs, supplies and equipment cheaper. My plan is to try to achieve annual savings of 500 million kuna within the current system. That is the starting point for the 2017 budget”, said Kujundžić.

“My priority is to preserve human resources because they are our most valuable asset. If the trend of young people leaving the country continues, and that includes our best physicians, nurses and technicians, then Croatian health system will not be able to survive. Another thing is that the network of hospitals needs to be streamlined. It is unjustifiable that within a radius of 50 kilometres we have four general hospitals which do all medical services, but due to the small number of patients and procedures they have underutilized equipment. Analysis will show us where to concentrate certain medical departments, taking into consideration that no hospital should be left without outpatient clinics and basic diagnostic services”, added the Health Minister.

“Waiting lists in hospitals will be an eternal problem, other countries have it as well. In the primary care sector, we will introduce 200 new teams during the next year, in order to raise the quality and give physicians more time to devote to individual patients. On the other hand, certain specialists from hospitals will come to perform diagnostic procedures at local health centres, in order to be closer to patients”, said Kujundžić.

“Regarding my earlier statement that some physicians are slackers, I am a legalist and I am currently waiting for a summons from the Court of Honour of the Croatian Physicians Chamber. I have already repeatedly said that this statement had been taken out of context. However, I did say that about 50 percent of physicians are not doing enough work and that they should work more. Also, those who do work more should be rewarded in order to keep the best of them in Croatia. I have apologized several times if anyone was hurt, but I still believe that the healthcare system needs to be improved”, concluded the Health Minister.


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