Thursday, 23 September 2021

Beroš: Number of Inoculated Health Workers Up

ZAGREB, 23 Sept 2021 -  Health Minister Vili Beroš informed a cabinet meeting on Thursday that the number of health workers who have been inoculated has increased, adding that almost 90% of doctors have been vaccinated against COVID.

"So far nine out of ten doctors in Croatia have been vaccinated. Last week the increase in the number of people inoculated in the healthcare sector was two and a half times greater than the week before that."

"With 68% of health workers inoculated, and those who have obtained immunity after recovering from COVID, and with the introduction of COVID certificates in the healthcare system in October, I expect all processes within the hospital system to function normally," Minister Beroš said.

He said that hospitals were successfully managing the challenges of the fourth wave of the epidemic and gradually increasing their capacities. The Split hospital is under a lot of pressure with a large number of the gravest COVID cases and with only 10% of hospitalized patients being vaccinated.

Croatia has so far administered 3,388,015 doses of vaccines, and 53% of the adult population has been vaccinated, with 49.82% having received both doses.

Waiting lists reduced 31%

Beroš said that waiting lists had been reduced by 31% compared to the pre-pandemic period. This can be attributed to fewer patients coming in for examinations.

Interior Minister Davor Božinović recalled that the national COVID response team had allowed conferences and fairs to be held in closed premises as an important economic activity. That could be expanded if we have a greater number of citizens who have been vaccinated, he said.

For more about politics in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Thursday, 23 September 2021

Minister Warns Against Manipulation of Facts at Union Protest

ZAGREB, 23 Sept 2021 - Health Minister Vili Beroš said on Thursday that a union protest of nurses is a legitimate and democratic way of expressing one's position and demanding rights but he noted that there is no room for manipulation of facts.

The introduction of new anti-epidemic measures for employees in medical and social care institutions at the beginning of October has elicited debates in a part of the public, prompting some of the unions representing health sector employees to stage a public protest, said the minister.

"The protest to be held today by the Nurses Union... is a legitimate and democratic way to express one's positions and demands regarding certain outstanding issues and I support it as such," Beroš said in a statement when asked by the media to comment on the protest to be held in downtown Zagreb.

He added that what he did not have understanding for was the purposeful manipulation of facts regarding the announced introduction of new epidemiological rules in medical institutions, notably those that treat patients, who are the most vulnerable group in terms of possible infection with coronavirus and its consequences.

"As Health Minister, it is my obligation to take all necessary measures to prevent the infection from entering and spreading in the health sector, notably hospitals," he said.

COVID-19 certificates will be required for employees in the health and social care systems as of 1 October.

For more about politics in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Thursday, 2 September 2021

Beroš: Of 117 COVID Patients Put On Ventilators Lately, 110 Unvaccinated

ZAGREB, 2 Sept 2021 - In the last 10 weeks, there have been 117 COVID-19 patients on ventilators, and 110 of them were not vaccinated against this infection, Health Minister Vili Beroš said on Thursday.

In the last 24 hours, 9,989 coronavirus tests have been performed and 8% or 798 have turned out to be positive; 11 COVID patients have died, bringing the COVID-19-related death toll to 8,349, the national coronavirus crisis management team stated on Thursday morning.

Currently, there are 3,943 active cases, and of them, 440 are receiving hospital treatment, including 53 who are on ventilators.

In the week from 23 to 30 August, 4,140 people tested positive for the virus, and 86.16% of them had not been vaccinated.

Hospitals are increasing their capacity for COVID patients in line with epidemiological developments, he said.

The minister informed the government that the average age of hospitalized patients in the fourth wave of the pandemic was lower than in the third wave. The share of children in hospitalized COVID patients has tripled, he noted.

More than 8 in 10 doctors, 6 in 10 nurses vaccinated

Since the start of its vaccine rollout, Croatia has administered nearly 3.3 million vaccines, and 42.64% of the population, or 51.22% of adult citizens, have been vaccinated.

Until 30 August, 83.17% of doctors and 60.84% of nurses and medical technicians got vaccinated.

Broken down by age cohort, the share of persons above 65 who have received at least one shot is 69.5% and 65.8% of them have fully been immunized.

Treatment of COVID-19 and sick leave have cost HRK 2.7 billion 

A day of hospital treatment of a COVID patient costs HRK 11,000 and the average duration of hospitalization is 20 days. Hospitalization and sick leave for COVID patients have cost the state HRK 2.7 billion so far, which is equivalent to half the value of Pelješac Bridge, Beroš said.

He warned that if the trend of unvaccinated people catching the virus continued, one could expect a further rise in hospitalizations and new mutations.

(€1 = HRK 7.5) 

For all you need to know about coronavirus specific to Croatia, make sure to bookmark our dedicated COVID-19 section and select your preferred language.

Monday, 31 May 2021

Parliament To Discuss Vote of No Confidence in Health Minister, Vili Beroš on Tuesday

May 31st, 2021 - The Croatian parliament starts its session on Tuesday this week because the Feast of Corpus Christi is observed on Thursday. It will discuss the proposal of 41 opposition MPs for a vote of no confidence in Health Minister Vili Beroš.

The opposition says the reasons for that include the accumulated problems, the lack of an effective and transparent vaccination system, the avoidance of public procurement, corruption, and the theft of public money during the COVID pandemic to benefit close associates Minister Beroš.

"The reasons for this move are clear to all citizens - the accumulated debts in the healthcare system resulted in the suspension of deliveries of medicines to hospitals at the height of the pandemic. There are also huge problems with the vaccination system, and we have learned of favorable treatment in the development of the cijepise.hr vaccination registration system," Peđa Grbin of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) said in early May, explaining the reason for filing a joint motion for a no-confidence vote, signed by all opposition groups in parliament except the Croatian Sovereignists, who announced, however, that they would vote in favor of Beroš's resignation.

Grbin also said that the Ministry of Health "simply isn't functioning," and there were no reforms.

Beroš must leave, but that is not enough, and after he leaves, we must all work together to address the accumulated problems in the health system, Grbin said.

The government rejected the opposition's claims, saying that there are no grounds for a vote of no confidence in Beroš, and proposed to the parliament to reject the proposed decision on the no-confidence vote.

The government stressed that since the COVID outbreak, the health system had to deal with circumstances it had not experienced since the Homeland War, but it "stayed on its feet."

It rejected the opposition's claims on financing the health system, organizing the vaccination system, the public procurement, and claims related to the www.koronavirus.hr website and the procurement of advisory services.

The government said that the reform measures should establish a better, more efficient, and more flexible organizational structure and health system management.

On Wednesday, the parliament will discuss a report on the work of the State Audit Office for 2020; it will vote at noon and then conclude this week's work.

For more on politics in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page. 

Tuesday, 25 May 2021

Montenegrin Health Minister Jelena Borovinić Bojović Thanks Croatia For Vaccine Donation

ZAGREB, 25 May, 2021 - Montenegrin Health Minister Jelena Borovinić Bojović said in Zagreb on Tuesday that Croatia's donation of 10,000 vaccine doses was significant for Montenegro's efforts to inoculate its population against COVID-19.

In early May the Croatian government decided to donate 30,000 doses of coronavirus vaccines to Bosnia and Herzegovina and 10,000 doses each to Montenegro and Kosovo.

After meeting with her Croatian counterpart Vili Beroš, Borovinić Bojović thanked Croatia for that "big friendly gesture and great solidarity."

The donation of 10,000 doses will be "very significant in the process of mass inoculation that is currently underway in Montenegro," she said.

Croatia's Health Minister Vili Beroš underscored that Croatia's care for its neighbouring countries.

"I hope that we will contribute at least a little in the fight against this disease," said Beroš.

The two ministers discussed cooperation in the transplantation programme with Borovinić Bojović underscoring that Croatia has "shown especially good will to help us in resolving that problem."

She added that they discussed the signing of a memorandum of understanding that would enable Montenegrin doctors to come to Croatia for further training regarding transplantation surgeries.

The Croatian transplantation programme has been recognised beyond the borders of our country, said Beroš.

He underscored Croatia was willing to help Montenegro in that regard.

For more about politics in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page

Thursday, 20 May 2021

Minister to Send Inspection to Hospital to Investigate Allegations of Corruption

ZAGREB, 20 May 2021 - Health Minister Vili Beroš said on Thursday that he would send an inspection to Zagreb's Sisters of Charity Hospital, noting that there was zero tolerance for corruption and possible use of hospital funds for private interests and supporting efforts to uncover possible unlawful actions.

"I have been informed of the personnel changes at the KBC Sisters of Charity. I am not happy with what is going on in that institution, but I am determined to have potential irregularities investigated for the sake of all employees and protection of patients' interests," the minister said after earlier in the day, the incumbent head of the hospital's radiology department, Dijana Zadravec, who claims that hospital funds are used for private interests and that corruption and crime are being covered up, was replaced.

Beroš said that he would send a team of inspectors from the Health Ministry to the hospital and also ask the Croatian Health Insurance Fund to launch an investigation and that he expected the Finance Ministry to join in with the aim of thoroughly investigating the hospital's operations.

The acting director of the hospital, Zoran Vatavuk, replaced Zadravec over poor interpersonal relations that had resulted in a large number of radiologists leaving the hospital.

Zadravec said that her replacement was unlawful and accused Vatavuk of obstructing her attempts to improve work at the radiology department.

She also said that Vatavuk was covering up crime and corruption at the hospital which she had reported to the competent institutions.

Zadravec said that she was in conflict with "the heads of hospital departments who own private hospitals and work to the benefit of those hospitals while using the resources of the public health system."

In a comment on Zadravec's allegations, Vatavuk said that he strongly supported her efforts to have possible irregularities at the hospital punished and noted that the latest report by an internal audit requested by his predecessor had revealed no irregularities in the hospital's operations.

For more about politics in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Tuesday, 11 May 2021

Feasibility Study For Hospital Project in Osijek to be Prepared

ZAGREB, 11 May, 2021 - The 35 million kuna contract on the elaboration of a feasibility study for the construction of a new complex housing the hospital centre in Osijek was signed on Tuesday in that biggest eastern Croatian city.

The document on preparing the feasibility study was signed by Health Minister Vili Beroš, the Osijek Hospital Centre head, Željko Zubčić and the representative of the consortium of bidders. As many as 30 million kuna will be provided from European funds, whereas the health ministry will cover the remaining 5.2 million.

Regional Development and EU Funds minister, Nataša Tramišak, said at the contract-signing ceremony that the co-funding from the EU funds was ensured through the "Slavonia, Baranja and Srijem" project.

She said that the construction of the future hospital centre was estimated at two billion kuna, and the exact sum would be known after the Osijek hospital centre provided full information.

Zubčić said that the new hospital centre "is a greenfield investment", and would be built at a new location. He said that the new hospital complex "is a necessity for Osijek and Croatia's east.

The elaboration of the feasibility study is expected to take a year.

(€1 = HRK 7.5)

For more about health in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

 

 

Tuesday, 4 May 2021

Health Minister Vili Beroš Expects Hospitals To Provide Patients With Medical Services

ZAGREB, 4 May, 2021 - Health Minister Vili Beroš on Tuesday said that the solution to acute problem of the shortage of radiologists in two hospitals in Zagreb was within the responsibility of those hospitals and that he expects those institutions to provide patients with appropriate and immediate health services.

"The solution to the acute problem of the shortage of radiologists at the Sisters of Mercy hospital and the clinic for treating cancers, which is part of that health institution, is up to the administration at the hospital and I expect them to provide all the patients with the appropriate medical services, and in particular oncology patients and those with grave diseases," said Beroš.

He underscored that patients have to be above organisational problems of an institution.

Beroš underscored that patients must not be left without services because of organisational problems or human relationships.

"That's my clear message to directors and all their associates who are responsible for managing those processes in hospitals. Problems have to be resolved," said Minister Beroš.

He added that Croatia has an increasing number of younger radiologists with experience in working in clinical centres and health institutions that could be the core of creating a system based on the example of developed countries with advanced health systems.

"Creating an efficient system of radiology services at the country level that could provide efficient, quality and financially rational services to a larger number of health institutions that are faced with a shortage of staff such as radiologists, which surfaced in the Sisters of Mercy hospital, are an inevitable step towards resolving this and similar problems," he underscored.

He underscored that as Minister of Health he has already "launched certain activities to provide organised radiology services based on the experiences of other countries that have proved to be efficient and economically justified and are appropriate to our needs and capacities.

For more about health in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Tuesday, 4 May 2021

Opposition Parties File Motion of No Confidence in Health Minister Vili Beroš

ZAGREB, 4 May, 2021 - Parliamentary opposition parties have filed a joint motion for a vote of no confidence in Health Minister Vili Beroš over the accumulated problems in the healthcare sector and scandals related to the minister, Social Democratic Party (SDP) leader Peđa Grbin said on Tuesday.

"The reasons for this move are clear to all citizens - the accumulated debts in the healthcare system resulted in the suspension of deliveries of medicines to hospitals at the height of the pandemic. There are also huge problems with the vaccination system, and we have learned of favourable treatment in the development of the cijepise.hr vaccination registration system," Grbin said.

"The development of this non-functioning system was awarded to people connected with Minister Beroš. There are also suspicious public procurement procedures at the Health Ministry such as one where IT services were awarded to a florist and tenders were fixed for former HDZ health ministers Andrija Hebrang and Neven Ljubičić, which have been cancelled but only after media started writing about them," he added.

"The Health Ministry is simply not functioning. There are no reforms, and the extent to which this affects people's lives could best be seen in a recent case at the Clinic for Tumors where citizens suffering from malignant diseases could not receive adequate care," Grbin said, naming Beroš as the person most responsible for this.

"We want Beroš to go because right now he has done nothing positive for the healthcare system, and all the negative things he has done pose a direct threat to people's health and lives," the SDP leader said. "His departure, however, will not be enough and we will all have to come to grips with the accumulated problems together."

Grbin said that a discussion on Beroš must be held within 30 days, and whether it will be held before or after the 16 May local elections "depends on Prime Minister Andrej Plenković and Parliament Speaker Gordan Jandroković."

The initiative was signed by all opposition groups in parliament except the Croatian Sovereignists, but they have announced that they will vote in favour Beroš's resignation, Grbin said.

MOST's Nikola Grmoja said that his party had been warning for a long time about the problems faced by the healthcare system, including huge debts to drug wholesalers and long waiting lists.

"Beroš, of course, is not the only one to blame, the whole government is responsible. With our signatures we also want to encourage a reform of the healthcare system. All of us in the opposition agree that changes are necessary and should be launched urgently," Grmoja noted.

Sandra Benčić of the green-left We Can! platform said that they supported all the reasons for a no-confidence vote in Beroš, but stressed that the responsibility for the crisis in the healthcare system and the poor management of the coronavirus pandemic mostly lay with Prime Minister Andrej Plenković.

"None of the ministers, and certainly not Minister Beroš, makes decisions on their own. They were not chosen as competent persons in their departments but were chosen based on their loyalty to the prime minister who ultimately makes all decisions. The prime minister cannot be exonerated by his purported unawareness of the scandals for which we seek Beroš's resignation. That's why we ask whether the country can be run by a prime minister who does not know or who does not get key information," Benčić said.

Homeland Movement MP Stjepo Bartulica said that the Croatian healthcare system was too politicised. "There are countless problems and the possible resignation of Minister Beroš will not change things much. We have insisted from the start that the healthcare system should be governed by market principles because now we don't see any mechanisms that will bring about change to the system as this government resists structural reforms," he said.

For more about politics in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Wednesday, 28 April 2021

Željko Reiner: "Opposition's Motion to Impeach Beroš Won't Succeed"

ZAGREB, 28 April, 2021 - Deputy Parliament Speaker Željko Reiner (HDZ) said on Wednesday that the opposition's motion to replace Health Minister Vili Beroš will not succeed just as previous motions to impeach ministers did not.

"Today, I heard that the opposition will submit a motion on 4 or 5 May to impeach Minister Beroš. Just like all the previous motions to impeach ministers, this one won't succeed either," said Reiner.

Reiner announced that he would put the motion for a no confidence vote on the Parliament's agenda within the deadline foreseen in the Standing Orders.

Asked whether Beroš can make order in the process of vaccination, Reiner said that it would be put in order in the shortest time possible and that sufficient quantities of vaccines had been obtained.

Reiner said that Beroš is doing his job quite satisfactorily and that he needs to be left to do it in peace to the end.

Asked about accusations from the We Can! party that paid seminars are held on information from the National Recovery and Resilience Plan and that some ministers participate in them, Reiner said that any such accusations need to be substantiated with arguments. "I haven't heard a single argument. Those are empty phrases, like many others," he said.

For more about politics in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

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