September 28, 2018 / 12:09 PM / a year ago

Croatia opposition says health minister must go over waiting lists, costs

ZAGREB (Reuters) - Croatia’s main opposition parties submitted a no-confidence motion against Health Minister Milan Kujundzic on Friday, accusing him of failing to tackle growing waiting lists, inefficiencies and costs.

The demand was signed by lawmakers from the biggest opposition party, the Social Democrats, as well as the centre-right Most (“Bridge”) party, the Peasant Party and the populist Zivi Zid (“Human Shield”) party.

“In his two years in office Kujundzic failed to do a lot of things he should have done ... our health system is now worse-off than it was two years ago,” Ines Strenja Linic from Most told reporters.

Branimir Bunjac from Zivi Zid said people often had to wait up to two years for medical check-ups.

The World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and other analysts, have told Croatia for years it must reform its health sector to make it more efficient and reduce pressure on the budget.

Drug wholesalers told local media in July that hospitals owed them more than two billion kuna ($310 million). Some suppliers said they have had to wait up to two years for payments.

The ruling conservative-liberal coalition has a small parliamentary majority and has seen of other no-confidence motions, including one last year on the handling of a debt crisis at the country’s largest private firm Agrokor.

There was no immediate comment from the health minister but his ruling HDZ party said it was confident he would keep his job.

“Like in similar demands before, this one will also fail,” said the head of the HDZ parliamentary grouping, Branko Bacic.

A debate and vote on the opposition motion must take place within a month.

($1 = 6.4167 kuna)

Reporting by Igor Ilic; Editing by Andrew Heavens

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