Opposition Demands Dismissal of Health Minister Kujundžić

Total Croatia News

ZAGREB, October 17, 2019 – The parliament on Wednesday afternoon started debating a motion to give Health Minister Milan Kujundžić a vote of no confidence, tabled by the MOST party with the support of 32 members of parliament, with opposition MPs criticising the minister for not launching a reform of the healthcare sector and for trying to influence the judiciary.

Explaining the motion, MOST MP Ines Strenja said that the minister had failed to adopt a health insurance law on time and ensure its implementation.

She also accused the minister of failing to consolidate primary healthcare and of failing to reorganise and financially stabilise the system.

Opposition MPs also criticised the minister for poorly managing human resources, resulting in a brain drain and some hospital wards closing down due to a lack of doctors and nurses.

“Patients get what they are given and not what they need, and that is unacceptable. There is no more time for inaction because the situation has become unbearable for doctors, nurses, wholesale drug suppliers and patients,” Strenja said.

She added that the minister was no longer perceived as a relevant interlocutor, which was why the prime minister was being increasingly addressed to solve problems.

The opposition claims that the minister has demonstrated a lack of fundamental knowledge about the health system which, it says, has become financially unsustainable.

Opposition MPs also resent that the minister has tried to influence the judiciary in order to prevent courts from handing down verdicts that would be in favour of doctors who have sued the state over unpaid overtime.

The opposition submitted the motion for a vote of no confidence in Kujundžić before the parliament’s summer recess in July, insisting that the issue should be discussed at an extraordinary parliamentary session but that did not happen because the Constitutional Court ruled that a motion backed by one-fifth of all MPs was not sufficient reason to discuss an item at an extraordinary session of the parliament during its recess.

This is the second time the parliament is discussing a vote of no confidence in Kujundžić after last year, around the same time, the minister’s replacement was discussed for the first time, also at MOST’s asking. At the time, the Opposition cited as many as 52 reasons why the minister should step down.

ZAGREB, October 17, 2019 – Prime Minister Andrej Plenković on Wednesday dismissed an opposition motion to give Health Minister Milan Kujundžić a vote of no confidence, saying that Kujundžić, “who has worked with commitment on ensuring healthcare quality and availability,” would stay in his government.

Defending the minister from opposition MPs’ criticism, Plenković said that his government had implemented a number of measures to upgrade the healthcare sector and that it had achieved significant progress and stabilised the sector.

He noted that his government had inherited the sector’s debt and that before the economy got into full swing and the amount of money flowing into the health insurance fund increased, it would not be possible to ensure the sector’s financial stability.

Plenković recalled that an extra 1.3 billion kuna had been redirected into the health system in 2017 and that the sector’s debt had been reduced from 8.2 billion kuna to 7.8 billion kuna.

“In 2019 significant funds, in the amount of 1.5 billion kuna, were secured for expensive drugs. Wholesale drug suppliers were recently paid 300 million kuna of a 500 million debt for the drugs supplied and the remaining amount will be paid to them by the end of the year,” said the PM.

He announced the continuation of the rationalisation of the health system and better solutions for its financing as well as the continuation of work on promoting the quality of medical services. “Minister Kujundžić will have an important role in that,” he added.

Addressing the parliament, Kujundžić said that since the start of 2017 the government had increased wages in healthcare by 18% whereas during the term of the Zoran Milanović government those wages were reduced.

“The maximum possible amount, of 2.2 billion kuna, has been absorbed from EU funds and invested in Croatian hospitals,” he said.

He noted that 15,300 doctors and 31,000 nurses currently work in Croatia, which is a slightly higher number than in 2015.

The average number of doctors per 100,000 inhabitants in the EU is 350 and in Croatia it is 340, the minister said, warning against dramatising the situation in healthcare.

More news about healthcare sector can be found in the Lifestyle section.


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