The Slovenia Times

National Institute of Congenital Heart Diseases set up


The country's main hospital, UKC Ljubljana, set up congenital heart surgery in the 1960s. Over the years it became the main paediatric centre for congenital heart conditions for the entire former Yugoslavia.

But after Slovenia gained independence in 1991, poor relations among staff and medical teams started affecting the quality of services. This was confirmed by an international commission looking into the 2007-2013 period.

To improve the situation, the government first backed at the end of October the activities for the setting up of a centre for treating children and adults with congenital heart conditions, but then decided on 9 November that the centre should be separated from UKC until the situation at the hospital improved.

The new national institute will therefore be an independent institution located at UKC.

As soon as it becomes operational, it will sign an agreement with the Health Insurance Institute (ZZZS), which will allow it to be funded from mandatory health insurance.

Since there are no surgeons specialised in paediatric cardiology in Slovenia, foreign specialists will work at the institute and train Slovenian doctors. At the beginning, a cardiologist and a cardio cardiac surgeon from abroad will be constantly available.

Paediatric cardiologists from the Paediatric Clinic will not work at the institute because of their alleged involvement in the controversial programme of paediatric heart surgery.

The government, however, did not decide today on the minister's proposal to name Ana Žličar, formerly director general of the Ljubljana Oncology Institute, the acting head of the new institute.


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