siniša varga - bolja.jpg
Photograph: HINA / MINT / mm

The Bridge coalition of independent slates said on Tuesday that it would defend the achieved health care standards in Croatia until the very end, but that it had nothing against plans to cancel a programme launched last year by former Health Minister Sinisa Varga of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) aimed at shortening waiting lists and expediting the treatment of cancer patients.

The Open Door Programme, the 72 Hour Programme and Programme Plus "were designed primarily to serve electioneering purposes in the year before election year," and their results are not proportionate to the amount of money invested in them, Bridge said in a statement supporting new Health Minister Dario Nakic of the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ), who has announced the cancellation of the programmes.

Bridge said the programmes did not provide equally available health care throughout Croatia.

The party also repeated its position regarding plans to introduce an above-standard health care package, which patients would have to additionally pay for, saying that it would defend the achieved health care standards "as the last line of defence". As for the above-standard package of health care services, Bridge that it was necessary "to define what that would mean, if we can afford it and if we need it."

The party said that it also supported the announced personnel and financial stabilisation of the health system and that "in cooperation with Minister Nakic, it will insist on cost-cutting, increasing the efficiency of the health system and unburdening the hospital system," adding that they called on greater responsibility of all stakeholders in that system - from doctors and nurses to professional associations and patients' associations.

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