The Slovenia Times

Conditions to hire foreign heart surgeons to be loosened


In line with the changes to the medical practitioners act, the health minister will be able to allow medical professionals from third countries to be hired in specific circumstances.

The special circumstances mean that a Slovenian hospital is not able to provide for continuous medical treatment with Slovenian experts, causing serious peril to patients' health and lives.

The foreign experts will thus not be required to have a very good command of the Slovenian language; they will no longer have to speak Slovenian at the C1 level, the second highest proficiency level in the Common European Framework of Reference for Language.

They will be able to work here for up to one year if they have been invited by a hospital and if three doctors in Slovenia vouch for them.

The government has drafted the amendments as the Paediatric Clinic, which is part of the UKC Ljubljana hospital, has been left with only one children's cardiology specialist after two left last week. Meanwhile, two children's cardiologists - from the US and Croatia - started working there yesterday.

The Peadiatric Clinic has been plagued by problems at its congenial heart programme for years, but the latest two resignations threatened to put an end to treating children with congenital disease in Slovenia.

Last week, the bill was discussed by the joint parliamentary committee, a temporary body established to deal with all urgent issues, which endorsed it unanimously.

Nevertheless, the debate heard a lot of criticism levelled at the Health Ministry, with some MPs accusing it of resorting to stop-gap measures to deal with the dire situation in child heart surgery instead of having taken systemic measures in time.

The Medical Chamber has also recently criticised the solutions, saying they allowed retroactively for doctors from non-EU countries to start working in Slovenia before the bill would enter into force, meaning without meeting all the conditions.

During what will be the second emergency session of parliament after it was constituted on 22 June, the MPs have six and a half hours to discuss the bill.


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