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Saturday, February 4, 2023

Slovenia: The coronavirus continues to rage, while the government threatens doctors

By: Sara Kovač / Nova24tv

While Robert Golob’s government is engaged in reorganisation, which also includes the establishment of a strategic council for nutrition under the Prime Minister, it is forgetting to take care of people’s public health. Infections with covid-19 continue to rage, and judging by government communication, it seems as if covid-19 has disappeared. But infections are increasing day by day. It is particularly worrying that we rank among the top European countries in terms of the number of infections.

It is already known from experience that covid infections spread more easily in winter, because people stay indoors due to lower temperatures. The statistics are undoubtedly not surprising, that last week we recorded 12,591 covid infections, which is 567 more cases than the week before. 19 patients lost their battle with the infection from last Monday to Sunday, which is seven deaths more than in the previous week.

The number of patients requiring hospital treatment is also increasing. Last week, an average of 90 people needed treatment for covid infection, which is seven more than the week before. There are 14 patients in the intensive care unit, which is two more patients than the week before, reports the MMC portal. On Sunday, according to the National Institute of Public Health (NIJZ), the seven-day average of confirmed cases of coronavirus infection was 1,795. This is 80 more than the previous Sunday. “The number of confirmed cases in the last 14 days per 100,000 inhabitants was 1,175, which is 164 more than the previous Sunday,” they announced on Sunday, estimating that there are 24,715 active cases of infection in the country. This is 3,452 more cases than the week before.

We are at the very top

If we look at the statistics of infections by European countries in the last seven days, we can undoubtedly see that we rank among the top countries in terms of the number of infections. The most worrying situation is in France, followed by Germany, Italy, Russia, Austria, and Great Britain. The seventh place is occupied by Slovenia.

As the Christmas holidays approach, when family and close friends gather in a festive atmosphere, it would undoubtedly be appropriate to urge the public to behave protectively. Especially in contact with more vulnerable groups. So that in case of feeling unwell and having a suspicion of infection, they should get tested, and in case of illness (not only covid), also get isolated. During the winter, the Prime Minister’s “advice” that people expose themselves to the sun’s rays and sea water just does not come into play. Unless someone can reach deep into their wallet and travel somewhere warm. However, since his advice has little in common with the opinion of the profession, he could at least behave responsibly now. The same applies to the Minister of Health, Danijel Bešič Loredan, who seems to be more concerned with threats and arguments than solving real problems in healthcare, where the situation is unsustainable.

It is absolutely true that the health system has also been impoverished by covid, but the catastrophic situation is not from yesterday. Since many are in great difficulty, where to find a doctor and a prescription for medicines, the former state secretary and paediatrician Dr Tina Bregant spoke up through Facebook social network. She warned that it is only a matter of time before someone will assert the right to withdraw from compulsory insurance at the Constitutional Court. “Why? Because his rights to proper treatment are actually violated in such a system. We no longer have an accessible doctor in Slovenia. For almost 150 thousand people. This is the equivalent of a mass disaster!” she was critical. At the same time, Bregant pointed out that we pay about 13 percent of the gross salary for health care, which amounts to almost 200 euros per month even at the minimum wage. “This money is not for the doctor. This money goes through FURS (yes, yes – the government!) to ZZZS. What do they do with it there – they pay a few euros for a clinical examination! ZZZS pays less for a clinical examination with a doctor than you pay at a hairdresser or for a parking fee in front of UKC Ljubljana!”

Since the situation in health care is really at the point where we can say that we are close to a breakdown, today is undoubtedly the time when we still need operational and wise leadership of the Ministry of Health, who will know and be able to deal with all stakeholders in health care and the public appropriately communicate and conduct dialogue. A management that will also understand that the problems that have been accumulating in healthcare for many years have led to completely justified mistrust on the part of employees and, on the other hand, fear, and disappointment in patients. Given that Golob boasted of respectful communication in the first hundred days, one wonders how it is possible that he entrusted the care of such a problematic department to someone who tackled “solving problems” with threats, blackmail, and ultimatums. Since he is the Deputy Prime Minister, the whole thing is all the more worrying.

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