The Slovenia Times

Referendumania: Health Services Act on Target

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Passed by parliament last week, the new law merges the Public Health Institute (IVZ) with nine local institutes for public health operating in Celje, Koper, Kranj, Ljubljana, Maribor, Murska Sobota, Nova Gorica, Novo mesto and Ravne na KoroŇ°kem into two new health institutions.

One will be the National Institute for Public Health, which will deal with public health care and be financed from the state budget and other sources, and the other will be the National Laboratory for Health, Environment and Food, which will take over the tasks of the laboratories currently operated by the IVZ and the local institutes for public heath.

Coalition lawmakers said last week the changes will help pool professional capacities and enable a more unified approach to public health. They also highlighted the financial benefits of the merger, which is expected to save the budget EUR 1.5m annually.

The opposition was meanwhile concerned over negative impacts the merger could have, in particularly with regards to monopoly and centralisation. Bosses of most of the local institutes also opposed the changes, arguing that autonomous institutes were a better answer to the needs and specifics of local populations.

The signatures filed today are the first step in the procedure to call the referendum. In the next step, proponents will have to collect 40,000 verified signatures in order to call the actual referendum.
 

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