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FIDES Report, Slovenia, October 2016
The situation in the Slovenian healthcare has become quite turbulent. The government which has been in office for 2 years now, has shown no motivation for any serious healthcare reform and has even not seriously decided whether we need one. In the meantime, the waiting lists have soared to historic highs and currently there are about 250.000 people or 12,5% of Slovenian population registered in at least one waiting list. Even oncology patients must wait much longer than acceptable.
Recently, we were shocked by a murder of a young urologist at Izola general hospital while he was at work. The murderer was his patient who called for him to discuss the waiting time for his cancer operation. Unsatisfied, he shot the doctor and himself. Afterwards, several followers threatened to blow up the central university hospital in Ljubljana and a specialized pulmology hospital at Golnik for the same reason, but fortunately the threats were not seriously meant.
Meanwhile, the government still insists on the unified salaries system for the whole public sector. Fides has been negotiating with the Ministry of health since February 2016 on a new collective agreement for doctors and dentists. Fides demands to implement the standards of physicians' work that were already presented to FEMS several years ago. Apart from that, Fides demands a stimulating and flexible salaries system that would enable better performing doctors to be paid better. Among others, the doctors should be stimulated not just to see or treat more patients, but also for achieving better outcomes, like reducing referrals, reducing the burden of chronic diseases, hospitalization days, waiting times, returning visits etc. The government has shown some interest for such initiatives, but still largely hesitates to implement them. Most officials in the Slovenian healthcare still believe that all problems could be resolved by paying some additional interventions and by making doctors work more. This cannot succeed because some 10 mio EUR intended to be additionally spent cannot nearly compensate for more than 100 mio EUR of accumulated losses of the Slovenian hospitals, let alone new investments and expensive medicines.
A vastly ignored problem remains the complementary healthcare insurance which should be thoroughly reformed or even completely abolished. Yet nobody knows where an alternative source for 450 mio EUR, that are collected this way, can be found.
Fides is most probably going on general strike in November 2016 if the government's attitude doesn't radically improve.