Pressure Mounts on Health Minister to Resign

Total Croatia News

ZAGREB, August 21, 2018 – The leader of Živi Zid party, Ivan Vilibor Sinčić, on Tuesday said that this opposition party would be part of an initiative for Health Minister Milan Kujundžić’s replacement, whom Sinčić called out for upholding clientelism in the health sector and added that Kujundžić was definitely one of the worst ministers in Andrej Plenković’s government.

Živi Zid is definitely for a no-confidence vote in Kujundžić. He never should have become a minister, Sinčić told a press conference following the latest events in the health system and the death of a 21-year-old man, Matteo Ružić, in Zaprešić.

Ružić was definitely a victim of the system, Sinčić said, regardless of the minister saying that he wasn’t, because the ambulance that arrived when he fell ill in the street did not have the equipment or personnel. He called on Kujundžić to keep his word and resign as “people are dying because of the system.”

“The system is failing due to the lack of money and personnel but, above all, due to the lack of organisation the lives of patients are jeopardised,” he claimed.

Sinčić listed several other problems in the health system due to which the minister needs to go – the mortality rate of cancer patients which is among the highest in Europe, the long waiting lists for certain examinations, some even up to two and a half years, the lack of hygiene products in institutions and insufficient meals for patients.

Another indicator that the minister isn’t up to his position, Sinčić said, is the fact that among the hundreds of bills put to the 9th parliament, only two are related to health.

“Clientelism and nepotism thrive in the health sector, which Kujundžić is maintaining. He is definitely one of the worst ministers in the government who hasn’t provided any solutions even for the chronic problem of public procurement in the health sector, from which huge amounts of money are being siphoned. Contracts are awarded to suspect companies connected to the ruling party and coalition. The entire system is rife with politicking and interests instead of valuing expertise,” Sinčić said.

This dysfunctional system suits someone, which is why Živi Zid will be part of the initiative calling for a no-vote confidence in Kujundžić, he added.

The MOST opposition party leader and member of parliament Božo Petrov and MOST MP Ines Strenja Linić on Tuesday commented on Health Minister Milan Kujundžić’s announcement that he would ask that they be stripped of their medical licences over their statements after the death of a young man from Zaprešić on August 12, saying that the only problem that should be discussed was the minister’s responsibility for the functioning of the health system.

“It seems someone has misunderstood something in this case and is missing the point. The topic of the discussion is the health minister’s responsibility for the functioning of the health system. Nobody forced the minister to leave his profession and enter politics. Quite the contrary, the impression is that his desire to join the political arena was very strong. So, the only problem that we should be discussing is the minister’s political responsibility for the functioning of the health system,” the two MPs said in a joint statement, noting that they would address the press on the reasons why they were seeking Kujundžić’s resignation on Wednesday.

Kujundžić has said in an interview with the Večernji List daily that he will ask that MPs Željko Jovanović of the Social Democratic Party, and Ines Strenja Linić and Božo Petrov be stripped of their medical licences for their statements made following the death of Matteo Ružić, who died in the street in Zaprešić, just west of Zagreb, on August 12 while waiting for an ambulance. The case provoked a public outcry and strong criticism from the Opposition.

Kujundžić also accused the three MPs of using the case to score political points.

MOST political secretary Nikola Grmoja told reporters in the parliament today that the reasons why the party was demanding the minister’s resignation concerned the non-implementation of reforms in the health sector. He added that opposition MPs on Monday held phone consultations regarding the request for Kujundžić’s replacement.

“We have held talks with colleagues from the Social Democratic Party, the Croatian Peasant Party, GLAS, the Živi Zid and some independent MPs, and their position in principle is that they will support Kujundžić’s replacement,” said Grmoja.

Earlier in the day, commenting on Kujundžić announcement, SDP MP Jovanović said that the minister had violated the Code of Medical Ethics and Deontology and acted dishonourably.

“And now he has even dared to threaten us with withdrawing our licences for pointing out his incompetence and arrogance. I expect a vocal response from all doctors because Minister Kujundžić has evidently lost all sense of reality and can no longer be Health Minister,” Jovanović wrote on his Facebook profile.

He went on to say that Kujundžić had continually insulted fellow doctors by making blanket statements and recalled his statement that Croatian doctors are “incompetent and ignorant and do not deserve their salary”, for which he answered before a Croatian Medical Chamber board.

The Croatian Medical Chamber (HLK) today confirmed receipt of Jovanović’s request for the HLK to launch disciplinary proceedings against Kujundžić, saying that a decision on the request was pending.


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