The Human Rights Ombudsman, Peter Svetina, invited the Minister for Health, Danijel Bešič Loredan, for a familiarisation meeting. He also presented the Minister with the Ombudsman’s Annual Report for 2021 at the Ombudsman's premises. He and the Minister touched upon some of the most pressing issues in the functioning of the health system, which will be examined in more detail at a working meeting.
The Ombudsman's report for 2021 identifies 18 violations of health care rights. "Access to a doctor and quality of treatment are key elements of public health care. Many of our previous recommendations in this area remain unfulfilled, and I expect decisive moves from the Minister and his team," the Ombudsman made clear.
He and Minister Bešič Loredan spoke, among other things, about ensuring sufficient numbers of family medicine doctors, occupational medicine practitioners, paedopsychiatrists and ophthalmologists. They discussed the fact that there is still no register of rare non-malignant diseases and that, from a systemic point of view, there is still inadequate provision of accommodation for people who have completed hospital treatment but whose state of health does not allow them to live independently.
The Ombudsman reminded the Minister of the recommendation that a systemic solution should be put in place for employees who care for seriously ill relatives in their own homes. "The Ombudsman also questions the delay in the drafting of a new law on complementary, traditional and alternative forms of diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation. We also recommend that the Ministry of Health take the necessary measures to ensure (emergency) paedopsychiatric treatment for children and to develop an appropriate normative framework to ensure access to regular mental health treatment for children, adolescents and adults," the Ombudsman further stressed.
The Ombudsman welcomes the Action Plan for 2022 and 2023 for the implementation of the Resolution on the National Mental Health Programme 2018-2028, which pays special attention to young people. He considers the planned expansion of the network of mental health centres to be urgent and expects the Ministry to ensure that psychotherapy is regulated in order to avoid abuses. "It is high time to eliminate the unconstitutionalities found by the Constitutional Court in the Mental Health Act (MHPA) and to propose systemic changes that should eliminate the shortcomings and simplify the current statutory procedures," the Ombudsman stressed.