Chief Covid-19 adviser elected Medical Chamber head

Ljubljana – Bojana Beović, the infectious disease specialist who heads the group advising the government on Covid-19, has won the run-off vote to head the Medical Chamber.

Out of the 5,895 ballots cast by the membership, Beović won 3,154 and Tanja Petkovič, the head of the chamber’s section of care home doctors, won 2,706, the chamber told the STA last night. Ballots were cast by 51% of the membership.

After Beović’s four-year term is endorsed by the chamber’s assembly, she will formally take over from incumbent Zdenka Čebašek-Travnik, who won the lowest number of votes in the first round of voting on 17 November. Beović came only 0.5% short of an outright majority at the time.

Speaking to the STA after the vote yesterday, Beović said she had in a way expected to win, while she also hailed Petkovič as a strong challenger. “The result is clear and I feel I have considerable support from my colleagues.”

Asked whether she would continue to head the Covid-19 advisory group as well as the chamber, Beović said she understood Health Minister Tomaž Gantar wanted to reform the group, but she expected to stay active in the management of the epidemic as an infectious disease expert.

“I won’t assume the presidency of the chamber until after the endorsement at the assembly and it will take a while so that the need for my expert advice on the epidemic will slowly cease with the vaccination and the epidemic slowing down,” she told the STA.

Beović would like the voice of doctors and dentists to be heard and taken into account more. Her programme indicates she would like the chamber to improve the public image of doctors and help individuals subject to media lynch through professional arguments in public.

She also believes that the chamber should aspire to the creation of a fund to pay for no-fault damages, while it should also provide legal, expert and if necessary psychological assistance to doctors in distress due to accusations or criminal charges, and help them protect their good name.

She pledged to aspire to increase the chamber’s presence on the ground, to modernise the licensing rules and make them internationally-comparable, and to see to systematic training of membership in communicational, business running and leadership skills.

Beović’s bid to head the chamber has been publicly endorsed by several well-known doctors, including Blanka Kores Plesničar, the medical director of the Ljubljana Psychiatric Hospital, infectiologist Mateja Logar and the head of the UKC Ljubljana traumatology centre Matej Cimerman, among others.