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Issues with long-term care among main points in Human Rights Ombudsman report

The Human Rights Ombudsman's report for 2019 highlights problems with elderly care, accessibility issues for disabled persons, and lack of pedopsychiatrists among continuing human rights challenges in Slovenia.

The report lists 305 violations and irregularities that involved 48 bodies. The largest number of cases was related to administration, children's rights, protracted proceedings, violations of the rule of law and the welfare state and of the right to social protection.

The ombudsman issued 158 recommendations, some of which have been a mainstay for over a decade, in particular those related to long-term care.

According to the report, problems with institutional care, in particular for the elderly, are rampant and deepening, The ombudsman highlighted accusations that conditions at nursing homes continue to deteriorate due to a lack of staff and insufficient staffing standards.

The office, led by Ombudsman Peter Svetina, feels there are too few services providing support to elderly people who want to stay at home and is calling on the government to finally start implementing deinstitutionalisation.

Svetina is also not happy with the level of access to education and to school buildings for disabled persons, as well as not with accessibility to courts. Services enabling assistance to disabled persons at home need to be expanded too.

Another burning issue is the lack of pedopsychiatrists, which is leading to delays in criminal and family cases in courts. The ombudsman called on the Education Ministry to immediately secure a sufficient number of experts for regular work with children on the autism spectrum.

Criticism is moreover expressed over the continuing absence of pay allowance for parents with hospitalised children, and over a lacking legal framework for the care of extended family members.

Ever since 2005, the ombudsman has also been highlighting the protracted procedures involving bodies of the ZZZS health fund deciding on granting people rights stemming from mutual health insurance, in particular rights related to the incapacity to work.

The report on the other hand notes positive developments in the judiciary in general, including when it comes to securing trial in reasonable time and the protection of victims and vulnerable groups. One persisting issue are overcrowded prisons, which are also understaffed in all areas.