Wednesday, 18 May 2022

Ministry to Find Solution to Non-emergency Medical Transportation Drivers' Strike

ZAGREB, 18 May 2022 - The Ministry of Health stated on Wednesday that it was taking steps for a solution to demands by striking non-emergency medical transportation drivers, adding that their strike was illegal because it affected the rights of numerous patients.

Ambulance drivers have been striking for three days and have said they would continue until their demands are met for their wages to be equalised throughout the country as now their wages can differ up to HRK 1,500 depending on which county employs them.

"The ministry and government are doing everything within the framework of financial abilities to resolve the status and financial problems of non-emergency medical transportation drivers and paramedics which dated back from the period of the government of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) and their coalition partners 11 years ago. We believe that we will very quickly find a satisfactory solution to that issue," the ministry said in the press release.

Regarding the protest calling for wage indexes to be equalised in calculating wages based on job complexity, the ministry noted that it understands the justified demands, however, it cannot support an illegal strike that the unions organised contrary to regulations.

The ministry says that the strike has unjustifiably deprived numerous patients in the entire country of their right to medical transport which is of exceptional importance in their treatment and providing daily medical services.

About 400 non-emergency medical transportation drivers and paramedics in eight counties started their industrial action on Monday.

Unlike the ministry that claimed that the unfavourable status of ambulance drivers dates from the period of the SDP government, unionists told a press conference last week that the problem has existed since 2011 when the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) was in power and Darko Milinović served as the health minister.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated lifestyle section.

Monday, 16 May 2022

Ministry: Procedural Omissions at Two Hospitals in Čavajda Case

ZAGREB, 16 May 2022 - The Ministry of Health said on Monday that a health inspection had been completed, with regard to the case of pregnant patient Mirela Čavajda, at the KB Sveti Duh Hospital and the Sisters of Charity Hospital in Zagreb and that procedural omissions had been established.

A health inspection by the Health Ministry was conducted at the KB Sveti Duh Hospital, the Sisters of Charity Hospital, and the KB Merkur Hospital. After the entire documentation was reviewed and talks were conducted with the employees of the hospitals, it was established there were procedural omissions at the KB Sveti Duh and Sisters of Mercy hospitals, and the health inspectorate will take further measures, the ministry said in a press release.

It was determined that the patient was provided with all available healthcare in accordance with the profession and legal provisions in Croatia.

Inspection also at private healthcare facility that provided pregnancy care

In order to establish all relevant facts in this complex case, the health inspectorate decided it was also necessary to conduct an inspection at the private healthcare facility where the patient was provided with health services during her pregnancy.

With regard to the irregularities at the KB Sveti Duh Hospital, non-compliance with the legal procedure of the first-instance commission was established, which was subsequently corrected and sent to a second-instance commission at the KBC Zagreb Hospital. At the Sisters of Charity Hospital, which the patient contacted via her attorney, upon making the first-instance decision, there was a failure to inform the patient of her right to contact the KBC Zagreb Hospital as a second-instance body.

For more, check out our politics section.

Monday, 16 May 2022

400 Croatian Ambulance Drivers Go On Strike

ZAGREB, 16 May 2022 - About 400 ambulance drivers and paramedics went on strike on Monday saying they will continue striking until their demands are met and their pay is aligned with that of drivers in the medical system, with shop steward Vladimir Markuš saying that the Health Ministry pushed them into the strike.

"The consequences of the strike will be visible already today and even more tomorrow. We are going until our demands are met, but unfortunately, the Health Ministry has literally pushed us into this strike," Markuš told Hina.

The strikers are calling for a regulation that would align their earnings at the country level because now their wages vary up to HRK 1,500 in some cases, depending on which county they are in.

Ambulance drivers are striking in several counties and cities.

About 400 ambulance drivers are on strike at local health clinics, while another 300 drivers at emergency medical centers in seven counties, who are not allowed to strike, are working to rule.

Markuš added that the only response strikers received from the ministry were that Minister Vili Beroš was "away today" and he had made a statement yesterday.

"The minister is calling for care for Croatian citizens who will not be getting their rights, yet he contributed to the fact that many people have not been able to exercise their rights. Patients have been waiting for MRI tests for up to a year and a half. These people are being deprived," Markuš said.

"We will not leave patients without care. Those needing transport will get it but those who are not urgent cases won't because only about 30% of drivers are working and they cannot handle all that work," added Markuš.

Markuš appealed to the ministry to resolve their problem so that the system does not collapse.

"We are waiting for the competent authorities to do their job and adopt a regulation on indexation. As soon as it is adopted, we will cease the strike," Markuš said.

For more, check out our politics section.

Friday, 6 May 2022

Ministry Requests Information From Hospitals on Pregnancy Termination Case

ZAGREB, 6 May (2022) - The Health Ministry said on Thursday that it requested the four Zagreb hospitals where 39-year-old Mirela Čavajda had asked for a pregnancy termination after her unborn baby was diagnosed with an aggressive brain tumour, to send it information about the case.

Čavajda contacted four Zagreb hospitals, of which the KB Sveti Duh Hospital and the Sisters of Charity Hospital refused to perform the procedure, while the KB Merkur Hospital and the Hospital for Women's Diseases, popularly known as Petrova, have still not sent her any answer.

"The Health Ministry has requested the medical institutions contacted by the patient, which reportedly did not provide her with timely and accurate information about her options, to provide information on the case. Depending on further findings, the Ministry will make a decision on possible further steps from within the remit of the healthcare inspectorate," the ministry said.

It noted that every woman has the right to abort in cases where there are medical indications.

"The Health Ministry draws the attention of all health institutions to their duty to provide timely and accurate information to patients on their rights and the options they have in Croatia," the ministry said.

Zagreb Mayor Tomislav Tomašević on Thursday condemned the case as discrimination of women, announcing that the management of the Sveti Duh Hospital, of which the City of Zagreb is the founder and where all gynecologists are conscientious objectors, would secure conditions for all types of pregnancy termination at the hospital as soon as possible.

He also noted that the hospital's director had formed a commission to establish the circumstances of the case.

 For more, check out our politics section.

Wednesday, 4 May 2022

Health Ministry: Pregnancy Termination Possible After Week 10 for Medical Reasons

ZAGREB, 4 May 2022 - It should be possible for every woman in Croatia to terminate pregnancy even after ten weeks if there are medical reasons for that, the Health Ministry said on Wednesday after the media reported on the case of a 39-year-old woman whose second child in the womb has an aggressive brain tumour.

The ministry called on all health institutions to timely and accurately inform their patients of their rights and possibilities that exist in Croatia.

Mirela Čavajda, whose second child got an aggressive brain tumour in the womb, told the Index web portal, which was the first to publish her story, 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.

The doctors she talked to convinced her they would be happy to help her, but they said it was illegal in Croatia to do an abortion after week ten, Index wrote.

The parent tried to seek help in all Zagreb hospitals that could do a termination of pregnancy -- Sveti Duh, Merkur, Vinogradska, and last Friday they sent a request to hospitals to establish a committee which should by law approve a termination of pregnancy, but they still have not received a response.

Čavajda added that she therefore launched a procedure in Slovenia, where she was told after an examination that the diagnosis was very bad, that there was nothing disputable about her case and that the decision was up to the parents, announcing that an ethics committee would make a decision on the request next Tuesday.

In a reaction to that case, the Croatian Ministry of Health said that a termination of pregnancy was possible after week ten with an approval of the committee and with the consent, that is, at the request of the pregnant woman, in cases where there are medical indications, or when the conception occurred as a result of rape, intercourse with an incapacitated person, intercourse by abuse of position, intercourse with a child or incest.

In order to ensure the woman's right, the Ministry of Health has enabled the establishment of a second-instance committee at the KBC Zagreb Hospital, in case the first-instance committee denies her request, it was said.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated lifestyle section.

Sunday, 20 March 2022

Minister: Tooth Decay Incidence Among 12-year-olds on Decline

ZAGREB, 20 March 2022 - On the occasion of World Oral Health Day (WOHD), observed on 20 March, Health Minister Vili Beroš said on Sunday that the prevalence of tooth decal among children aged 12 was declining.

|The latest data show that Croatia's Decayed, Missing, and Filled Teeth (DMFT) index has fallen from 4.3 to 2.6, which means that dental caries incidence is on a decline", Beroš said.

Decayed, Missing, and Filled Teeth (DMFT) index has been used since the 1930s, and is today the predominant population-based measure of caries experience worldwide. It is one of the most common methods in oral epidemiology for assessing dental caries prevalence, as well as dental treatment needs among populations.

The improvement is a result of the "Dental Passport" project, which is being conducted by the health ministry, the Croatian Institute of Public Health, the Croatian Health Insurance Agency, the Croatian Dental Chamber and the Croatian Medical Chamber.

For more, check out our lifestyle section.

Wednesday, 2 February 2022

Can't Get Hold of Your GP? New HZZO Email Address to the Rescue

February the 2nd, 2022 - There are many instances of people who are registered with a GP being unable to get hold of them after repeated attempts in numerous ways. Finally realising that this is an issue for people, a brand new HZZO email address has been launched for those types of situations.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, before deciding to team up together to try to tackle the issue of the vanishing GP, the Ministry of Health and HZZO (Croatian Health Insurance Institute) announced that they had been receiving more and more complaints from insured persons about the difficulties they were facing when it came to obtaining healthcare in the offices of their selected General Practitioners due to an inability to contact them in person, by phone, email or otherwise. 

Perhaps carrier pigeons hadn't yet been tried out by those in need of their GP's services, for which they or their employers pay every month, but we can wager a guess that this would also have failed. According to the Health Ministry, they received more than 3,000 patient reports on such matters, which is quite disappointing to say the least.

Due to the large number of complaints of this nature, HZZO has established a new email address: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to which insured persons can send their complaint.

The complaint sent to this new HZZO email address must state the individual's personal data (their name and surname, OIB and contact telephone number) and the name and surname of the selected doctor about whom the insured person is complaining.

Without the aforementioned data sent to the new HZZO email address, the Croatian Health Insurance Institute will not be able to do anything, ie get in touch with the doctor in question and/or help in the urgent resolution of whatever problem that the insured person has, they explained from HZZO.

For more, check out our lifestyle section.

Thursday, 11 November 2021

Delta Plus Variant, 10% More Infectious Than Delta, Detected at Three Locations

ZAGREB, 11 Nov, 2021 - Health Minister Vili Beroš warned on Thursday that the Delta plus variant of coronavirus was 10% more infectious than the Delta variant and that it had appeared in three locations in Croatia as record high numbers of COVID deaths are being reported, urging citizens to get vaccinated as soon as possible.

Delta Plus appeared last week in Croatia and so far it has been reported in Čakovec, Split and Zagreb, Beroš said at a government session, noting that this was an additional reason to get vaccinated.

It is of critical importance for citizens to get the booster dose as soon as possible so they can get maximum protection against the existing and new variants of the novel virus, he said, adding that the third dose was particularly important in areas with a large number of new infections.

Large number of new cases, vaccination records

Beroš went on to say that Croatia was registering needlessly high numbers of new infections, hospitalisations and fatalities, as well as vaccination records. On Wednesday alone, more than 27,000 vaccine doses were administered, including 16,000 that were administered as first shots. In the past 24 hours, the number of new cases among those tested was 42.48%.

So far, 58.67% of the adult population has been vaccinated, Beroš said, adding that 61,356 people had received the booster dose.

Mobile teams have vaccinated 49% of elderly persons whom they had contacted, an increase of 25% from the week before, he said.

COVID certificates not individual rights but protection of life, health

"COVID certificates, testing, compliance with epidemiological measures and vaccination are not about individual rights and freedoms but about a common response to the need to protect the lives and health of citizens in the new circumstances," the minister said, noting that between 1 June and 4 November  2,635,968 COVID-19 certificates had been issued.

Even though hospitals have been restricting non-essential procedures, Beroš said that so far "the provision of healthcare to all emergency and priority patients has been unobstructed at all stages of the epidemic."

The ministry has therefore asked the Health Insurance Institute to analyse the capacity and need for diagnostic procedures and treatment for cancer patients as well as the possibility and need for additional procedures to be carried out by private providers of medical services.

"This is a precautionary measure aimed at securing the highest possible availability of medical care for all non-COVID patients with serious illnesses," he said.

Team to make decision on mandatory COVID-19 certificates on Friday 

The head of the national coronavirus crisis management team, Minister of the Interior Davor Božinović, said that the team would tomorrow make new decisions on the obligation to get tested for coronavirus as a precondition for work and provision of services, the exemption being persons with EU digital certificates.

He recalled that due to the worsened epidemiological situation in the country on 5 November restrictions on gatherings and stricter anti-epidemic rules were introduced, to stay in force until 30 November.

For more on COVID-19, follow TCN's dedicated page.

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Monday, 25 October 2021

Health Minister: One Dose of Blood Can Save as Many as Three Lives

ZAGREB, 25 Oct 2021 - One dose of donated blood can help save as many as three lives, Health Minister Vili Beroš said in a message on Monday marking the National Voluntary Blood Donors Day, observed on 25 October.

"One dose of your blood can save as many as three lives. The Blood Donors Day is an opportunity to thank all those who have made this noble gesture and invite others to do the same. A big thank-you to the Croatian Red Cross for its commitment, for encouraging citizens to donate blood, and for saving lives on a daily basis," Beroš said on Twitter.

The Croatian Red Cross (HCK) also congratulated the blood donors, saying that they are "a true value of this society" and thanking them for saving people's lives.

The HCK brings together the largest number of blood donors in Croatia, meeting 80 percent of the healthcare sector's demand for blood donations. It said that despite the coronavirus pandemic, it managed to collect 142,265 doses of blood, of the total of 176,938 doses collected in Croatia last year.

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

Friday, 15 October 2021

Croatian Emergency Medical Maritime Service to be Richer for 6 Vessels

October the 15th, 2021 - The Croatian Emergency Medical Maritime Service is set to be richer for six fast vessels following the recent signing of a contract with two domestic shipyards.

As Jozo Vrdoljak/Novac/Jutarnji list writes, the Tehnomont Shipyard (Pula) and the Iskra Shipyard 1 from Sibenik have signed a Public Procurement Agreement with the Ministry of Health for the construction of six fast boats for the establishment of emergency medical care on the islands. The work of building and equipping six emergency medical boats is worth around 76.4 million kuna.

The Croatian production consortium won the tender as the most favourable bidder, and that tender was initially announced back in June 2020 by the Ministry of Health for the project "Establishment of an emergency medical maritime service by high-speed boats", funded mostly by EU funds. The agreed construction period is 24 months and the vessels will be stationed in Dubrovnik, Supetar on the island of Brac, Sibenik, Zadar, Rab and Mali Losinj.

The boats will all be purpose-built and equipped for the Croatian Maritime Medical Service and will raise the quality of care for all those who become injured or fall ill on the Croatian coast. They'll also be used for search and rescue missions in cases of maritime accidents and disasters.

"The construction and equipping of six fast boats for the establishment of the Croatian Emergency Maritime Medical Service is a significant step towards even better and more accessible emergency medical care on the Croatian islands," said Minister of Health Vili Beros. The director of the Croatian Institute of Emergency Medicine, Maja Grba-Bujevic, pointed out that this is an important project not only for emergency medicine but also because it represents great progress in maritime medicine across Croatia and in the entire Croatian healthcare system.

The Croatian shipyards Iskra and Tehnomont joined, as mentioned, a larger production consortium to make it easier to get this job, and as far as we know, this is probably just the beginning of their cooperation.

"This is the first step in the cooperation of our two shipyards because there's a mutual will to cooperate on new projects. Of course we'll decide on how things will be done from job to job, but in principle there is a will to cooperate. We have extensive experience in shipbuilding, especially in aluminum. We can't deny the fact that our shipyards are not technologically fully equipped, but professionally speaking, our personnel is very capable of building top-quality ships,'' they pointed out from the Tehnomont shipyard in Pula.

Roko Vuletic, one of the two directors of Iskra shipyard 1, points out that the cooperation of these two Croatian shipyards represents great potential for successful competition with the shipbuilding capacities on other markets as well. "This is an interesting niche, so we can enter other markets. In this way, we've increased our competitiveness and gained competitive advantages for both shipyards,'' concluded Vuletic.

For more, check out Made in Croatia.

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