The Croatian association of health system employers HUPUZ on Tuesday called on Prime Minister-Designate Tihomir Oreskovic to ensure financial stability for the health system but without cuts and privatisation of the public health system.

In an open letter to Oreskovic, HUPUZ recalls that Croatia invests around EUR 700 per capita in the health system annually, which is half the amount invested in Slovenia, five times less than in Austria and six times less than in Canada, while the quality and availability of health care is almost equal to health care in those countries.

The main problem of the national health system is the economy, with the number of workers being 289,000 below the EU average, which results in a deficit of around HRK 3.5 billion annually in the health system, says HUPUZ.

Such an economy, almost at the very bottom of the EU ranking, must not result in a deterioration of the health system as suggested by "some irresponsible economic analysts," say employers in the health system.

An unsuccessful experiment with cuts in the health system was attempted by the outgoing government, which reduced health contributions from 15% to 13% so as to unburden the economy, however, the result was an additional debt of HRK 2.4 billion that pushed the health system to the brink of collapse, with no positive effects for the economy, HUPUZ says.

The government then rectified its mistake by separating the health system from the state treasury and restored the health contribution rate to 15%, which clearly shows that economic recovery does not require cuts in the health system but other solutions, such as simplifying the process of starting a business, reviewing physical plans, introducing flat-rate taxes, reducing red tape, fighting corruption, etc, said HUPUZ.

HUPUZ is satisfied with initial announcements by the Bridge party and the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) party in that regard, and it supports decentralisation of the health system, keeping the current public health system, maintaining the social sensitivity and availability of the system to all citizens, streamlining hospital capacity, determining real prices of health services, reducing prices of drugs, and reviewing the list of medicines that are paid for by the Croatian Health Insurance Institute (HZZO).

The financial sustainability of the health system requires ensuring HRK 24 billion, which is the current amount ensured through health insurance contributions and existing legal solutions, by keeping the HZZO outside the state treasury and respecting legal guidelines that define obligations of the state budget towards the HZZO in the amount of HRK 4.8 billion.

A successful and sustainable health system requires greater autonomy of health institutions, determining real prices of medical services, and ensuring better access to the labour market by liberalising the employment process in the health sector, HUPUZ says, calling also for the continuation of the reform of primary health care system by keeping community health centres in charge of primary health care and as the coordinators of mobile teams and concession-holders operating as part of those centres. It also calls for the functional integration of hospitals.

HUPUZ says the emigration of medical workers should be stopped by introducing a system of financial bonuses and making the wage system much more flexible.

HUPUZ is strongly against the privatisation of the current health system because it believes that it would mean the end of the health system which citizens have had for centuries and which they want. It says this does not mean that it advocates an exclusively public health system but stresses that the Croatian health system is a complementary system of private and public medical care provided under the same conditions.

Related stories

Latest news

Syrian opposition rules out future role for President al-Assad

The Syrian opposition said Friday it would not accept any role for President Bashar al-Assad in the future of the war-torn country, reacting to a recent US shift saying that removing al-Assad is no longer a priority for Washington.

Russian Army integrates breakaway forces of Georgian province

Parts of the small fighting forces of the Georgian breakaway province of South Ossetia have been placed under Russian military control, Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said on Friday.

Czech Republic's Pilsner Urquell beer is now Japanese

Japanese brewing company Asahi completed its takeover of the Czech brewery Pilsner Urquell on Friday, Asahi said in a statement.

Judge approves 25-million-dollar settlement of Trump University case

A US district judge on Friday approved a 25-million-dollar settlement of lawsuits and state fraud allegations against Trump University, the US president's now-defunct business venture.

Former Thai premier Thaksin to junta on reconciliation: 'Cut me out'

Former Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra on Friday announced that he is not interested in the junta-led reconciliation process, three days after the junta handed him a half-a-billion-dollar tax bill for his past business deal.

Dalic: We welcome possible deal between Agrokor and banks

The government welcomes the possibility of an agreement being concluded between the Agrokor food company and creditor banks, and the bill on vitally important companies is not a fallback plan but the result of the government's care for the overall economic and financial stability of Croatia, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy Martina Dalic told a press conference in Zagreb on Friday.

Croatia, China sign action plan for cooperation in agriculture

The Croatian and Chinese ministries of agriculture on Friday signed an action plan for cooperation in the field of agriculture for the period 2017-2018, the Croatian ministry said in a statement.

ZSE indices up, Agrokor shares in focus of investor interest

The Zagreb Stock Exchange (ZSE) indices on Friday rose by more than 1.8%, with stocks of the Agrokor food and retail concern being in the focus of investor interest again.

Berlin police defend handling of Berlin market attacker

Berlin police defended themselves on Friday against accusations that they stopped surveillance on Berlin Christmas market attacker despite knowing in June 2016 he was dangerous.

Croatia, creditors tailor emergency measures to save tottering giant

Croatia's tottering retail and food giant Agrokor reached an agreement with its creditors, putting its debts standby and allowing it to continue working during emergency restructuring, the Croatian branch of Austria's Erste Bank said Friday.

Agrokor's creditors say standstill agreement to go into force today

A standstill agreement regarding the Agrokor concern's existing financial obligations to banks will take effect on Friday, additional capital will be injected into the concern in the coming days and the concern will be actively restructured, which includes a change of its management, it was said on Friday after a meeting between Agrokor's suppliers and creditor banks.

Palestinians, UN slam Israel's new settlement plan

Palestinians, Israeli activists and the UN lambasted the government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday, a day after it gave the go-ahead for the first new West Bank settlement in a quarter of a century.

South Sudan rebels release three abducted foreign oil workers

South Sudanese rebels have released three foreign engineers they abducted in early March in the oil-rich Upper Nile region, Foreign Affairs Ministry official Mawein Makol Arik said on Friday.

Turkish opposition: Imprisoned party chief has gone on hunger strike

The head of Turkey's pro-Kurdish opposition party has launched a hunger strike from prison.

European leagues threaten Champions League schedule clashes

The European Professional Football Leagues (EPFL) on Friday threatened schedule clashes on Champions League matchdays in an ongoing dispute with the governing body UEFA.

Danish court revokes citizenship of IS volunteer

A Danish appellate court on Friday stripped a man of his Danish citizenship for volunteering to fight for the extremist Islamic State in Syria.

Banks and Agrokor agree on key elements of standstill agreement

Member banks of the coordinating committee of financial creditors and representatives of the Agrokor food company have in principle agreed on key elements of a standstill agreement, which is expected to be signed later today, announcing changes in the company's management team, Erste Bank said in a statement on Friday afternoon.

Syrian man on trial in Sweden; mosque attack labelled terrorism

A Syrian man went on trial Friday in the southern Swedish city of Malmo, charged with terrorism and arson after an attack last year on a building used as an assembly hall by Shiite Muslims.