The Slovenia Times

Government to promote vaccination by incentivising GPs


Ljubljana - The government has adopted a project to boost Covid-19 vaccination, deciding to provide incentives for general practitioners and their teams who actively promote vaccination. They will be eligible for bonuses if at least 45% of their registered patients aged over 50 have received the first dose, or at least 55% have been fully vaccinated.

Family medicine clinics employees will receive a bonus of 10-30% of their gross base pay for encouraging vaccination. Only those members of the team who will spend at least two hours a week promoting vaccination, including in local media, will be eligible for the bonus.

The amount of the bonus will depend on the vaccination rate among their patients.

The goal of the project is to increase the vaccination rate, especially among the people over 50, the government wrote after a correspondence session on Thursday.

The project will potentially provide additional incentive for general practitioners and registered nurses in their teams who work in public health institutions or with other public health service providers.

It envisages facilitated promotional activities and health services aimed towards carrying out vaccination, and ensuring adequate remuneration for these activities.

Rewards will be available only to those health workers in family medicine teams that will spend at least two hours a week performing extra activities, like actively approaching individual patients, promoting vaccination and participating in local activities.

In addition, they will only be eligible for remuneration if at least 45% of their registered patients over 50 have received the first dose, or at least 55% have been fully vaccinated.

The project will be financed from the national budget, the Government Communications Office said.

Heath Ministry State secretary Robert Cugelj said today the costs of the project had been estimated at around EUR 4 million. This much will be spent if all teams of family medicine take part, achieving the highest possible bonus of 30% of gross base pay, he noted.

But the decision was met with mixed feelings. Doctors and nurses warned that their workload was excessive as it is and some also voiced concern about the ethical aspect of such a campaign. Doctors fear it may also undermine patients' trust in doctors.

Mateja Logar, the head of the Health Ministry's Covid advisory group, told the STA the measure had not been proposed by the group but that the group supported all ideas that had a positive impact on people's attitude towards vaccination and contributed to a higher vaccination rate.

Bojana Beović, the infectious diseases specialist who heads the national advisory committee on immunisation, said the measure was in line with experts' view that everything needs to be done to increase the vaccination rate among those over 50 years old.

She rejected concerns that the project might not be ethical, saying that at this point "vaccinating the vulnerable population is highly ethical".


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