Croatian doctors protest for greater autonomy within healthcare system

ZAGREB, June 27 (Xinhua) — Croatian general practitioners protested here on Wednesday against a new healthcare bill that has been approved by the government and sent to the parliament, N1 television reported.
According to the bill, at least 25 percent of the practices would stay under the healthcare centers control.
The doctors protested because they want a greater autonomy within the existing health system. Most of them want to run a semi-private medical practice but the government insists that some of these practices stay under the state-run healthcare centers.
Health Minister Milan Kujundzic, told reporters on Wednesday that the government was considering a complete privatization of a primary health care but finally renounced it.
“At this point, Croatia needs public and private practices, so the healthcare centers will be maintained while some doctors will have a chance to develop the so-called concessions or semi-private practices,” the health minister said.
Doctors claim that they want to have a choice to work for themselves or a healthcare center. They are considering a lawsuit against the state because they feel they are discriminated against general practitioners who run a semi-private practice. Those are usually better paid than the others.
“If the parliament confirms this law we will not have a primary health care in five years because those who are now working will retire and there will be none to succeed them,” doctor Vikica Krolo told N1 television.
On Tuesday, many Croatian general practitioners decided to warn about their situation by examining patients slower than usual, creating longer queues in the waiting rooms.
Croatia already has a problem with the lack of doctors. Since Croatia joined the European Union in 2013, many doctors and medical staff have left the country seeking better working opportunities.

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