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Friday, March 1, 2024

The path to repression? The government would also force private doctors to work for state institutions

By: A.G. (Nova24TV)

The government adopted a proposal for a law on urgent measures in healthcare in an extraordinary session on Friday. Explanations from the Government Communication Office (Ukom) state that the law will contribute to greater accessibility and efficiency of the healthcare system. However, the question arises as to whether this will be achieved constitutionally. As pointed out by Igor Muževič, a Slovenian doctor and unionist, the law is extremely dangerous. “The central point is the forced allocation of all healthcare workers, even those not connected to the public network. So, you cannot even resign from the public sector because it does not protect you from the ‘invisible hand’ of the state,” he said.

The proposed law envisages certain permanent and temporary emergency measures in the field of healthcare and health insurance, healthcare activities, absenteeism, and professions in healthcare, aiming to eliminate some organisational weaknesses of the healthcare system and unreasonably long waiting times, as explained by Ukom. However, as pointed out by Igor Muževič, they intend to achieve this in an unconstitutional manner.

“Yesterday, the government adopted a proposal that gives the minister the authority to forcibly order all healthcare workers in Slovenia to work in public institutions. This includes retired and private ones. The reason can also be the well-known unacceptable waiting lists, which actually endanger patients. A noble measure by the state for many,” warned Muževič on the X network.

However, how can we continue to allow patients to die in hospital hallways? Why do we not issue a decree to private builders to construct hospitals? Why do we let people die during the multi-year wait for justice in court? Why do we not compel all law school graduates to work in the courts so that people do not get sick while waiting for justice? The only fair thing would be for all citizens to be legally available for the one-sided noble actions of the state. Actions where the state, at its discretion, disposes of their knowledge and time under conditions it determines itself, Muževič continued.

Stakeholders do not agree with the proposal

The Ministry of Health sent the draft proposal for consultation to some stakeholders on November 9th, requesting them to submit comments by the next day. After dissatisfaction was expressed by several stakeholders, the deadline was extended until November 16th. Even Young Doctors do not agree with the proposal; they stated: “Politics has not addressed working conditions in healthcare, which has driven many employees out of hospitals and health centres. Now they are adopting a law that, in the face of a shortage of workforce, forces all doctors – from retirees to private practitioners – to work for state institutions and limits their basic rights.” Freedom? NO!!, they added.

The question, however, is whether the proposal is constitutional at all. Many things in Slovenia are unconstitutional, many proven by the Constitutional Court, and many covered by the Constitutional Court with the excuse of permitted violation of one part of the constitution to respect another part, says Muženič. Tomaž Štih, on the other hand, said that this is a classic example of how socialism constantly slides into repression. When the system does not work, socialists tighten the pressure. And because it still does not work, the recipe is repeated. And each cycle, the repression becomes worse.

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