BIRN Serbia Debates Holes in Patients’ Rights Law

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Efficient application of the Law on Protection of Patients’ Rights, problems concerning its application, and the role of local government in appointing councilors for patients’ rights were key topics in the debate, “Law on Protection of Patients’ Rights – law without application?”, organized by BIRN Serbia on December 20.

The debate gathered more than 30 participants from government, independent institutions, local authorities, the NGO sector and the media.

More details about the law are available at:  

BIRN Serbia organized the debate, aware that some 47 per cent of municipalities had not fully applied the Law on Patients’ Rights and appointed councilors for patients’ rights by a December 1 deadline.

The NGO Serbia on the Move, BIRN Serbia’s partner organization, presented data from its research carried out among 105 municipalities all over the Serbia, which showed that by early December only 42 of them had appointed such councilors and formed Councils for Patients’ Rights.

More details of the debate are available at: 

Dr Ivana Rodic, from the Ministry of Health, outlined the activities of the ministry in regard to the two laws, saying the Ministry had implemented all the steps it needed to take.

Dr Predrag Stojičić, from Serbia on the Move, and Marina Mijatovic, from the NGO Law Scanner, responded that the authorities had left matters far too late, saying that essential communication with citizens and doctors had been left out.

Gordana Stevanović, from the Ombudsman’s office, explained the role of this institution in the process and pointed out both positive and negative sides to the new law. She also presented the Ombudsman’s plan to organize similar debates and round tables to monitor and support the process of patients’ rights protection.

Marija Djordjevic from Kragujevac shared her town’s positive experiences about the provision of patients’ rights protection, in force for some months now already, since the town participated in the pilot project implemented by SCTM (Standing Conference of Towns and Municipalities). She explained how certain procedures were established, where difficulties had occurred and how they were resolved.

In the debate that followed, members of the audience took part, including representatives of the Republican Health Insurance Fund, the municipality of Indjija, and several patients’ associations.

BIRN Serbia will announce and promote a set of recommendations in regard to better implementation of this law and will continue to evaluate trends in the health sector as part of its monitoring project.