The Croatian Patients Association opposes Health Minister Dario Nakic's plan to cancel the "72 Hour Programme" which makes it possible to start the treatment of cancer patients within three days from diagnosis, and it believes that it would be a bad move.
In an interview with Nova TV on Saturday, Nakic said that the programme had never come to life and that cancer patients were operated on in due time anyway.
"I can't cancel something that has not started functioning properly. Those patients are not young, 20-year-old people who have no other condition and can be operated on right away... they are older people and you must prepare them for surgery," said Nakic.
The national association of patients said that Nakic's plan was "very bad and harms the gravely ill."
"In our experience, this has been a very good solution. The 72 Hour Programme... offered real hope to the gravely ill and their families that they would be not only diagnosed quickly in one day but that their treatment would start within three days, which was very well accepted both by the patients and by their families," the association said.
Former health minister Sinisa Varga said on his Facebook account that the programme had been launched in a Zagreb hospital at a time when the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) was in power and that the previous, Zoran Milanovic government had only expanded it to cover the entire country.
He, too, said that the new minister's decision harmed patients' interests.