On 21 March 2023, the Human Rights Ombudsman Peter Svetina and his colleagues worked in Celje. They visited the General Regional Hospital and the home for the elderly and talked to the Mayor of Celje Matija Kovač about the restoration of the polluted area in the municipality, about the difficulties of people living at Delavska ulica in Celje who are bothered by the noise and ground tremors due to the presence of industry, and about the issue of disaggregated data for the needs of citizens care.
In their press release after the meeting, the Ombudsman and the mayor emphasised that in regard to the problems of people living at Delavska ulica, it is not possible to offer a comprehensive solution at this time. The Ombudsman stressed that it is a matter of private relations between the company owners and owners of apartments and that he as the Ombudsman has no jurisdiction over such matters. The Ombudsman estimates that appropriate laws would need to be adopted, which is the task of the state. As a last resort, court proceedings are also available to settle the disputes.
The Ombudsman was positively surprised about the activities in the Dom starejših ob Savinji (Savinja Home for the Elderly), which does not have secure wards for people with dementia, care is provided with the constant presence of the staff. Together with their relatives, they try to ascertain their personal needs, which they consequently follow. The management of the home also informed the Ombudsman about the long waiting periods for admittance to the home and about the combining of services, collaboration with the local community, and the smart employment policies which guarantee them sufficient staff. They also touched upon post-hospital care, in regards to which Svetina called to the state to arrange nursing hospitals. They agreed that in Slovenia more attention should be devoted to palliative care and raising awareness about the expression of patients’ will.
Together with the acting director of the Celje Hospital Dragan Kovačić they discussed the current healthcare reform. They also believe that the Health Insurance Institute of Slovenia should follow the needs of patients and healthcare service providers.
The Ombudsman and his colleagues welcomed 17 complainants who exposed issues in the field of employment, care for people with autism, social welfare, and healthcare. In this municipality, too, he opened the Ombudsman’s Corner. All municipalities with such Corners have on their websites a subpage of the Ombudsman’s Corner, on which all information about the Ombudsman and the complaint form are available in the digital form. Municipalities also publish a longer article in the municipality’s gazette about the work of the institution of the Human Rights Ombudsman so that citizens can get a detailed insight as to when and how they can turn to the Ombudsman, when the Ombudsman can help, and when he cannot intervene with their problem because it is not within his jurisdiction.