Renovation of Slovenia’s main hospital under scrutiny

Ljubljana – Preparations for renovation works on the main wing of the UKC Ljubljana medical centre are under way, but alleged irregularities may be a stumbling block to the long-anticipated upgrade of Slovenia’s main hospital worth over EUR 70 million. The matter is under investigation, authorities say.

The upgrade of the main building includes an energy renovation project and interior renovation. Both projects will be carried out by the construction company GH Holding.

The newspaper Delo reported in June that the energy renovation open call, through which the company was picked, had been flawed, noting the allegations of corruption.

The call for tenders reportedly did not contain a detailed description of the works, the quantity and price of materials and was drawn up in a hurry.

The hospital has dismissed this, saying that the call was in line with the regulations and that the deal with GH Holding had not been arranged in advance.

If the allegations transpire to be true, then the drawing of EU funds for this purpose would be halted under the anti-corruption clause in the relevant contract, the Health Ministry said on Tuesday.

Aleš Šabeder, head of the ministry’s office for oversight, quality and investment in healthcare, meanwhile warned that EU-funded projects must be concluded by the end of next year or they will need to be co-funded from the national budget.

The legal review is ongoing and reports of the irregularities have been forwarded to the Commission for the Prevention of Corruption (KPK), Minister Danijel Bešič Loredan said at today’s press conference on healthcare investment.

The energy renovation project, worth EUR 41 million without VAT, will be fully financed from EU funds. The overhaul will include replacing the facade, insulation and windows, as well as upgrades of roof, the ventilation system and lifts.

The interior refurbishment project will cost EUR 30 million without VAT and will be financed using funds secured by the health investment act to renovate the building that was completed in 1975. Most of it has not yet been renovated and is in a rather poor state of repair.

Last week, representatives of the ministry and the UKC management met to discuss the projects. The hospital has been instructed to prepare a plan for the relocation of the main building during renovation works by mid-August. They have been tasked to ensure that the UKC capacity is not reduced at all, Bešič Loredan said.