The Slovenia Times

Parliament okays EUR 35m to cut waiting times in healthcare


The move comes after the ZZZS urged raising its expenditure ceiling for 2018 by this sum, which the insurer expects to receive due to higher-than-planned revenue from employee and employer contributions resulting for robust economic growth.

The Health Ministry had announced the money would be spent to reduce waiting periods where these are the most pressing: dentistry, orthopedy, cardiology and ophthalmology.

The Democratic Party (SDS), New Slovenia (NSi) and National Party (SNS) expressed reservations about the move in today's parliamentary debate, with the SDS voting "no".

The three parties doubt the money will be used for patients, noting there was no reliable waiting times data and urging the government to explain which data would be used to distribute the money among hospitals.

Jelka Godec (SDS) stressed there were no current waiting periods posted on the website of the National Institute of Public Health, with Jožef Horvat (NSi) highlighting a recent study showing that only 27% of all waiting times data is credible.

Reservations about raising the ZZZS's annual budget have also been expressed recently by the Fiscal Council, an independent body monitoring the use of public finances.

It said the move would contravene the fiscal rule law, under which any surplus should be set aside on a special account to be used to pay down Slovenia's debt.

Marko Bandelli, the deputy faction leader of the Alenka Bratušek Party (SAB), said the council's appeal was warranted. Still, the money comes from people's health insurance contributions, so it is right that it goes back to them.

Jože Lenart of the Marjan Šarec Party (LMŠ) admitted the raise would not solve the problem of long waiting times. He believes the health systems will have to be made more efficient, and announced the use of the 35 million euro would be carefully monitored.

Similarly, the Left said the sum was not enough to solve the problem, but nevertheless welcomed the move as one of "few measures in the right direction".


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