The Slovenia Times

Stakeholders want dialogue with new health, environment ministers


Zdenka Čebašek-Travnik, the head of the Medical Chamber, said that Šebeder's hearing in parliament did not bring any surprises, either negative or positive. "It is good that he mentioned the Medical Chamber as a partner and I expect that we will be invited for talks soon."

Head of the Fides trade union of doctors Konrad Kuštrin told the STA that the key part of Šabeder's presentation had been when he was asked why so many doctors from the UKC Ljubljana hospital, which he headed, worked for other employees.

According to him, Šabeder "said clearly and loudly that this is the only way to reward doctors", which in other words means that the pay system does not work.

He noted that the minister had not given a clear answer to the question whether he advocated a unified pay system in the public sector and whether doctors needed to remain in that system.

Kuštrin, however, believes that Šabeder is not familiar with the key problems in the healthcare system, and seriously doubts that the current coalition will be able to do anything, as "the Left is dictating tempo to the government."

Igor Muževič of the Praktikum trade union of GPs thinks that Šabeder's success will depend on whether he will be able to take measures which run in opposition with the coalition agreement, which according to him is the "biggest obstacle for development."

When it comes to solving problems at the primary level, the trade union believes it will be invited for talks. Primary care is where the public, accessible and affordable health care stands or falls, Muževič added.

Marjan Pintar, the head of the association of healthcare institutes, welcomed Šabeder's announcement that his first move would be to resolve the shortage of GPs. "I think he is aware of the issue and I think's it is right to put this as priority."

Pintar agrees with the minister's opinion that the existing funding suffices for regular operations, while not allowing for development of new treatment methods and investment in basic and critical infrastructure. Investments from the state budget are needed, he added.

Meanwhile, environmental NGOs hope that the Ministry of the Environment and Spatial Planning will continue the dialogue with them under the new Minister Simon Zajc, while being reserved about the changes announced by Zajc.

"Judging by the presentation, what we can expect from the new minister is continuation of the projects planned by the previous leadership," Andrej Gnezda of Umanotera told the STA, adding that their realisation mostly depended on Zajc.

Umanotera expects the new minister to lead and implement an ambitious environmental policy and continue the dialogue with NGOs. "We expect that he will enjoy adequate support ... as there is no time for procrastination."

Greenpeace Slovenija hopes that Zajc will start seriously addressing climate change issues and work towards actual reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. "We hope that the minister will be a counterweight to economic interests and energy giants which are keeping Slovenia in old, fossil patterns."

The NGO hopes that Zajc will not only hide behind long-term goals, and that he will publicly promote social dialogue which would result in the closure of the TEŠ coal-fired power plant by 2030 and propose prohibition of fracking by law.


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