Saturday, 23 July 2022

Comment on Doctors' Wages Prompts Croatian Medical Chamber to Hit Back at Prime Minister and Health Minister

ZAGREB, 23 July 2022 - The Croatian Medical Chamber (HLK) on Friday said that Prime Minister Andrej Plenković's comment on doctors being among the better-paid public employees was inappropriate and it countered with the explanation that those higher salaries were the result of their working additional hours.

Asked about reports that a thousand doctors in Croatia had handed in their resignations, Prime Minister Plenković said earlier on Friday that he did not know about it, adding that doctors were among the better-paid public employees in Croatia.

"The only ones that perhaps have a higher salary are air traffic controllers, who are complaining about HRK 50,000. A stressful job. Come on," he said. The Prime Minister underscored that the government had increased salaries in health care in general, and that he didn't know when someone would be satisfied.

I think everyone needs to realise what kind of global crisis we are in, and understand that this is a time when we have to return to our joint contribution to solidarity, Plenković said.

However, the Croatian Medical Chamber accuses Plenković of having intentionally kept silent about the fact that the examples of high salaries of some doctors, revealed in media, were actually the result of of their overtime work with even 150 or 200 extra hours a month.

The Croatian Medical Chamber explains that so many hours worked in excess by doctors in hospitals were the result of shortage of specialist doctors and some of those employed professionals employed work double time to keep the hospital system functioning and make it available to patients.

The press release signed by the medical chamber's president, Krešimir Luetić blames Prime Minister Plenković and Health Minister Vili Beroš of poor management of the hospital system, "irrational public procurement in the healthcare system" and long waiting lists.

Wednesday, 11 May 2022

HLK: Conscientious Objection Guaranteed by International, Domestic Regulations

ZAGREB, 11 May 2022 - The Croatian Medical Chamber (HLK) said on Wednesday the right to conscientious objection was guaranteed by international and national legal documents and regulations, rejecting unsubstantiated attacks on that medical institute and opposing its abolishment.

The HLK expressed regret and sympathy for the difficult situation Mirela Čavajda and her family have found themselves in, but noted that it did not consider the case to be about conscientious objection.

Čavajda is a 39-year-old who has requested a pregnancy termination because the fetus has been diagnosed with massive brain cancer six months into her pregnancy. She recently told the Index web portal that all hospitals in Zagreb she contacted had refused to do a termination of pregnancy despite the fact that doctors told her that the tumour was so big the child most likely would not live long, and even if it did, it would never have a normal life.

Her complaint against the hospitals' decision is to be discussed by a second-instance commission at the KBC Zagreb Hospital, whose expert commission, formed last week at the request of Health Minister Vili Beroš, was of the view that the child has a chance to live and that neurosurgical treatment is possible if the delivery goes well.

The EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, legally binding on all members, guarantees every individual the right to conscientious objection, in line with national legislation, the HLK said, recalling that that right is also guaranteed by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the European Convention on Human Rights, and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

In Croatian legislation, the right to freedom of conscience is regulated by the Constitution, while the right to conscientious objection for physicians is regulated by the Medical Profession Act and the Code of Medical Ethics, the HLK says, describing as unacceptable recent blanket criticisms of gynecologists in the media and public.

It expressed concern over Zagreb Mayor Tomislav Tomašević's statement that it was unacceptable that all medical staff at Sveti Duh Hospital (founded by the city of Zagreb) are conscientious objectors, with HLK president Krešimir Luetić claiming Tomašević was exerting pressure on doctors.

The HLK stresses that the right to conscientious objection was often depicted  in public as an obstacle to exercising the legal right to abortion.

According to HLK's data, the service of pregnancy termination is available on request in 28 medical institutions in Croatia.

For more, check out our politics and lifestyle sections.

Saturday, 30 April 2022

65% of Croatian Population Overweight

ZAGREB, 30 April 2022 - In Croatia, 65% of its population is overweight, ranking second in Europe after Malta, a press conference in Opatija heard this week ahead of the 8th Croatian Obesity Convention.

The convention was held from 28 to 30 April in Opatija and was organised by the Croatian Medical Chamber's association for obesity.

About 300 experts discussed the problem of obesity, which is one of the biggest public healthcare problems, and they adopted new guidelines to deal with this problem.

The association's president and vice president, Davor Štimac and Sanja Klobučar Majanović, respectively, announced the convention.

Štimac said that over the past few years a somewhat better record was achieved by the female population in losing weight.

Croatian men continue to be the fattest in Europe. It is concerning to see that children are becoming fatter and fatter. We have projects in Croatia that monitor obesity among children in schools, and over the past 15 years that problem has been increasingly frequent among children, underscored Štimac.

He said that previously one in five school children had a problem with weight and today that is every third child.

We are battling against the COVID pandemic and obesity, which is a fatal combination, Klobučar Majanović said, adding and that a balanced diet and exercise are the path to a normal weight and that it is necessary to avoid weight-loss products on the black market.

Thursday, 17 March 2022

Medical Chamber Launches Humanitarian Campaign for Ukraine

ZAGREB, 17 March 2022 - The Croatian Medical Chamber (HLK) said on Thursday that it had launched a humanitarian campaign to raise funds to help the Ukrainian people and doctors.

The HLK is to donate HRK 300,000 as part of the campaign and it calls on its members to help raise funds, which will be used to buy medical products and equipment for Ukrainian doctors and people.

The HLK said that it strongly condemned the Russian aggression on Ukraine and the increasingly frequent attacks on civilian buildings, health institutions and medical workers.

The HLK drive will last until 1 April, and the money raised will be paid into a special fund for medical aid to Ukraine, established by the European Forum of Medical Associations (EFMA), Standing Committee of European Doctors (CPME) and World Medical Association (WMA).

The HLK said donations can be made via its bank account IBAN: HR7923400091511179558, poziv na broj 2022; opis uplate "Hrvatski liječnici za Ukrajinu".

For more, check out our lifestyle section.

Sunday, 28 November 2021

HLK Launches Proceedings Against Doctors Making Misleading Statements

ZAGREB, 28 Nov, 2021 - The head of the Croatian Medical Chamber (HLK) said on Sunday that he was surprised that participants in protests against COVID certificates included doctors, confirming the HLK had launched proceedings against doctors making claims not based on science at those protests, thus misleading the public.

"Certain steps have been taken against six doctors... sanctions range from a warning and a reprimand to the revocation of the licence," Krešimir Luetić said in an interview with the Sunday issue of the Novi List daily.

Asked if such doctors should have their licences revoked, Luetić said the HLK's Ethics Board was an independent body that would make its decision.

Doctors embittered by protests against COVID-19 certificate mandate

Asked about his view of the protests against epidemiological restrictions, vaccination and testing, Luetić said that he shared his fellow doctors' resentment about the protests.

He said that after the protest held in Zagreb last weekend, he was contacted by dozens of colleagues who were embittered as the event was in direct violation of epidemiological restrictions but also because of the messages that could be heard at the rally.

95% of doctors vaccinated

Asked about the fact that among the protesters there were also doctors and that not all protesters were uneducated people, Luetić said that he was shocked by the fact that any intellectual, particularly a doctor, would make comments that were not based on science, medical profession and statistics.

He noted, however, that around 95% of doctors had been vaccinated against coronavirus, thus showing their view of the pandemic and vaccination.

Speaking of vaccination, Luetić recalled that the HLK had already taken the position that vaccination should be mandatory in the health system.

As for the mandatory vaccination of the general population, which Austria has already opted for and some other European countries are considering, Luetić said that it would be a political decision.

"As a doctor and from the point of view of the medical sector, I think such a decision would definitely make the situation in the health system easier, and reduce the number of seriously ill people and fatalities," he said.

If you compare countries like Croatia, Belgium, Austria and the Netherlands, you see that they have roughly the same number of daily infections per million inhabitants, however, compared to Croatia, those three countries have three times fewer hospitalisations and up to five times fewer fatalities, Luetić stressed.

"That is a clear indicator of how important vaccination is, and as to whether our citizens understand that, I think the answer is both yes and no," he said.

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Sunday, 15 November 2020

Croatian Medical Chamber Pays Tribute to Vukovar's Sacrifice in Homeland War

ZAGREB, November 15, 2020 - A delegation of the Croatian Medical Chamber (HLK) on Sunday lit candles at a memorial at the Vukovar National Memorial Hospital in recognition of the hard work and great sacrifice of Vukovar doctors during the aggression on Vukovar in 1991.

"Like all these years, the Croatian Medical Chamber pays tribute to Vukovar's sacrifice and to victims of the Homeland War all over Croatia and expresses its thanks to colleagues who worked at the Vukovar hospital for three months in 1991 in inhumane conditions, offering medical help to all those who needed it," HLK president Kresimir Luetic said.

He said that HLK members had come to the Vukovar hospital a few days before November 18 and not on that day due to the epidemiological situation as they wanted to send a message to everyone else to listen to epidemiologists and not to gather in large numbers in Vukovar on November 18.

Luetic said that the sacrifice of Vukovar in the Homeland War can also be honoured on other days and in other places. According to him, Vukovar should not become a new COVID-19 hotspot following November 18 if epidemiological measures are adhered to.

Head of Vukovar hospital, Vesna Bosanac, also does not expect Vukovar to become a new coronavirus hotspot after November 18.

It is important that everyone who comes to Vukovar really adheres to the measures, that they wear masks and listen to the COVID-19 response team, and that there are no gatherings, Bosanac said.

The HLK delegation also visited the Homeland War Victims Memorial Cemetery, where it laid a wreath and lit candles.

Monday, 26 October 2020

Croatian Medical Chamber Calls on Retired Doctors to Activate Amid Pandemic

October the 26th, 2020 - The ongoing coronavirus pandemic is continuing to deal heavy blows, with the infection rate in Croatia rising to figures that were difficult to imagine back during the beginning back in spring. With capacities filling and medical staff being stretched thin, the Croatian Medical Chamber has called on retired medics to activate and get involved with helping to deal with the result of the spread of the new virus across the country.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 26th of October, 2020, due to the significant deterioration of the epidemiological situation related to the spread of COVID-19 here in Croatian, Minister of Health Vili Beros recently came out and asked the Croatian Medical Chamber to provide the Ministry of Health with data on retired doctors who are willing to re-engage in healthcare duties during the epidemic, each according to their own respective specialisations.

As has since been found out, in the first 24 hours of Beros having made this plea, 23 retired doctors responded to the call of the Croatian Medical Chamber, stating that they're ready to re-activate to try to help cope with the spread of the new coronavirus.

The Croatian Medical Chamber added that they expect much higher numbers of retired medics to respond at the beginning of the next working week.

To brieflty recall, the Minister of Health recently warned that the number of hospitalised coronavirus patients is growing rapidly, as are the number of health professionals who are positive for the virus and as such have been placed into self-isolation, which is why they can't currently participate in treating patients.

Minister Beros asked the Croatian Medical Chamber to submit to the Ministry of Health data on retired doctors who are willing to re-engage professionally, and interested doctors can contact the chamber should they desire to involve themselves amid the pandemic, the invitation reads.

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