PM announces tighter regulation of nursing homes in wake of tragic fire

NEWS 15.01.2020 12:46
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Source: Igor Kralj / PIXELL

An "analysis of the state of affairs in privately-run nursing homes would be conducted, and the legislative framework would be amended" to enable better and stricter control of those facilities, Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic said on Wednesday in parliament, without specifying any details. Plenkovic's announcement came in the wake of a recent fire at a nursing home north of Zagreb which killed six.

On Saturday, six elderly residents of a nursing home in the village of Andrasevac had perished in a large fire that engulfed the building. The case received much publicity and raised questions about the way the privately-run retirement home industry which is rapidly expanding as state-run nursing homes are increasingly unable to cope with the demand since about a quarter of the country’s population has reached retirement age.

According to state agency Hina, the home was overcrowded at the time of the fire, housing 45 residents, or three times more than the maximum capacity of 13 it had been accredited for.

During the question hour in Parliament on Wednesday, Plenkovic commented on the incident and said that the authorities should establish if there are more such cases in other nursing homes around the country.

“There are over 700 nursing homes in Croatia, and after analysing the situation we will be able to enhance the legislative framework and control of those homes,” Plenkovic said and added that “the amended law on social welfare, and more efficient inspections, should help authorities check the actual state of affairs in private nursing homes.”

The Minister for Social Policy, Vesna Bedekovic, said that after the tragedy the home was evacuated with the remaining residents either turned over to family care or transferred to other nursing homes. In addition, criminal charges were filed on Monday against the owner of the Andrasevac nursing home, and the authorities ordered it shut.