Health committee debates doctors’ afternoon work

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Ljubljana – The parliamentary Health Committee continued on Friday its debate on the matter of doctors working in private clinics while also being employed within the public health system. The opposition Left proposed several resolutions for limiting such practices, but the committee has not endorsed them.

The debate dealing with this topic first started in September, but had to be cut short due to a regular parliamentary session.

It therefore continued today, and once again, committee members expressed different views on doctors that are employed in public healthcare while also working under contract with private providers in the afternoons, and how that affects the public health system.

Miha Kordiš, an MP for the opposition Left that initiated the debate on this topic, believes that such “amphibian” practices in healthcare are problematic, as they hinder the public healthcare system and actively contribute to longer waiting lines.

Upon Kordiš pointing out several examples of malpractices, Health Ministry State Secretary Alenka Forte said that any deviation from regular work must be sanctioned, adding that employers must do their part, but so must the inspection services.

Mojca Škrinjar, an MP for the ruling Democrats (SDS), said that hospitals should monitor the practices of their employees and sanction any irregularities or infringements.

Meanwhile, SDS MP Alenka Jeraj argued that afternoon work in private practices was less common than it is believed, adding that doctors might do that one afternoon a week, but not every day.

An MP for the opposition Marjan Šarec List (LMŠ), Jože Lenart, said that these problems could be solved more easily if the Slovenian public healthcare system would finally be held to stricter standards, while being supported by an integrated IT system.

The opposition Left had drawn up several resolutions on the matter, including a competitive ban on afternoon work with private providers for doctors employed in public healthcare institutions and additional taxes on complementary activities, but the proposals were not endorsed.