Parliamentary opposition parties filed a joint motion to launch a vote of no confidence for Health Minister Vili Beros, Social Democratic Party (SDP) leader Pedja Grbin said on Tuesday. The reason Grbin cited are "accumulated problems in the healthcare sector and scandals related to the minister."
“The reasons for this move are clear to all citizens – the accumulated debts in the healthcare system resulted in the suspension of deliveries of medicines to hospitals at the height of the pandemic. There are also huge problems with the vaccination system, and we have learned of favorable treatment in the development of the cijepise.hr vaccination registration system,” Grbin said.
“The development of this non-functioning system was awarded to people connected with Minister Beros. There are also suspicious public procurement procedures at the Health Ministry such as one where IT services were awarded to a florist and tenders were fixed for former HDZ health ministers Andrija Hebrang and Neven Ljubicic, which have been cancelled but only after media started writing about them,” he added.
“The Health Ministry is simply not functioning. There are no reforms, and the extent to which this affects people’s lives could best be seen in a recent case at the Clinic for Tumors where citizens suffering from malignant diseases could not receive adequate care,” Grbin said, naming Beros as the person most responsible for this.
“We want Beros to go because right now he has done nothing positive for the healthcare system, and all the negative things he has done pose a direct threat to people’s health and lives,” the SDP leader said. “His departure, however, will not be enough and we will all have to come to grips with the accumulated problems together.”
Grbin said that a discussion on Beros must be held within 30 days, and whether it will be held before or after the 16 May local elections “depends on Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic and Parliament Speaker Gordan Jandrokovic.”
The initiative was signed by all opposition groups in parliament except the Croatian Sovereignists, but they have announced that they will vote in favour Beros’ resignation, Grbin said. MP Nikola Grmoja (Most party) said that his party had been warning for a long time about the problems faced by the healthcare system, including huge debts to drug wholesalers and long waiting lists.
“Beros, of course, is not the only one to blame, the whole government is responsible. With our signatures we also want to encourage a reform of the healthcare system. All of us in the opposition agree that changes are necessary and should be launched urgently,” Grmoja noted.
Sandra Bencic of the green-left We Can! platform said that they supported all the reasons for a no-confidence vote in Beros, but stressed that the responsibility for the crisis in the healthcare system and the poor management of the coronavirus pandemic mostly lay with Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic.
“None of the ministers, and certainly not Minister Beros, makes decisions on their own. They were not chosen as competent persons in their departments but were chosen based on their loyalty to the prime minister who ultimately makes all decisions. The prime minister cannot be exonerated by his purported unawareness of the scandals for which we seek Beros’ resignation. That’s why we ask whether the country can be run by a prime minister who does not know or who does not get key information,” Bencic said.
Homeland Movement MP Stjepo Bartulica said that the Croatian healthcare system was too politicized. “There are countless problems and the possible resignation of Minister Beros will not change things much. We have insisted from the start that the healthcare system should be governed by market principles because now we don’t see any mechanisms that will bring about change to the system as this government resists structural reforms,” he said.