The Human Rights Ombudsman Peter Svetina visited the acting director of the University Medical Centre Ljubljana (UKC), Assist Prof Dr Marko Jug, on 20 January 2023. They talked about the situation in health care and the rights and duties of patients. They agreed that the pandemic has left grave consequences on the mental health of children and young people, in which field special efforts need to be directed and solutions sought.
They dedicated special attention to the issue of the accommodation of people who finish hospital care and have nowhere to go, which is why they remain in hospitals, including the UKC. This group primarily includes older people who cannot return to home care, but waiting times for places in a home for elderly people (DSO) are too long, people under the age of 65, who do not have the right to be admitted to a DSO, and younger patients after an acquired brain injury. For a long time, the Ombudsman has been warning the Ministry of Labour, Family, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities and the Ministry of Health that this question demands a systemic solution and thus he regrets that his pleas have not yet been heard.
Assist Prof Dr Jug emphasised that the UKC is a hospital available to all who need health care. He sees a special challenge in increasing of service quality with a lack of staff while also encountering problems due to work overload and an inappropriate system for performance evaluation. Both of them regret the occurrence of individualism which overlooks a fellow human being and stressed the importance of solidarity, collaboration, and partnership as well as appropriate communication.
The Office for the Protection of Patient Rights also operates within UKC, since regular addressing of the issues detected though complaints and commendations of patients and their relatives as well as other people is of key importance for improvements. The Office detected a 25 per cent increase in commendations, while the content of the complaints is similar to the content other health care institutions in Slovenia have been encountering. These mostly pertain to waiting times, duty of disclosure, and accessibility to health care services.