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COVID-19 EU PolicyWatch

Database of national-level responses

Eurofound's COVID-19 EU PolicyWatch collates information on the responses of government and social partners to the crisis, as well as gathering examples of company practices aimed at mitigating the social and economic impacts.

Factsheet for case SI-2020-43/1484 – measures in Slovenia

Temporary availability of health care workers during the epidemic

Začasna razpoložljivost zdravstvenih delavcev med epidemijo

Country Slovenia , applies nationwide
Time period Temporary, 24 October 2020 – 31 December 2020
Type Legislations or other statutory regulations
Category Ensuring business continuity and support for essential services
– Change of work arrangements (working time, rota schemes)
Author Maja Breznik (University of Ljubljana) and Eurofound
Case created 27 November 2020 (updated 05 December 2020)

Background information

With a rise of COVID-19 infections, the government has issued several orders temporary limiting the rights of health care works. Order on temporary measures regarding the implementation on secondment, traineeship and specialisation … , issued on 24 October, require medical trainees to work with COVID-19 patients. Order on temporary measures relating to the health care service due to infectious diseases COVID-19 , issued on 13 November 2020, ensures the availability of health care workers during the epidemic. It aims at reorganising the medical service in a way to ensure the medical treatment to COVID-19 patients as well as other patients who need urgent medical aid. The order temporary limits the right of health workers in the public health system, care homes and private health sector.

Content of measure

The ordinance suspended most of preventive health services excluding services for cancer patients, pregnant women and babies, occupational medicine, vaccination and urgent cases. Health institutions can have their health workers work for another employer (in health centres, hospitals or care homes) and assign work with COVID-19 patients without their consent. During the epidemic, they have no longer the right to annual leave holiday, the right to strike, and the right to education in infected areas. The order also obliges concessionaires to work in health care centres when called on duty. Concessionaires and private volunteering contractors get paid for their work.

By rule, only people negative for COVID-19 can work, but due to the lack of workers in care homes infected persons with no symptoms are allowed to work in red zones. While medical trainees are obliged to take part in health service, many health care students volunteer in hospitals and care homes.

Use of measure

Measures relate to all healthcare workers in the health system, public and private alike. They are temporary and valid only until the end of the epidemic.

Target groups

Workers Businesses Citizens
Particular professions
Workers in care facilities
Does not apply to businesses Does not apply to citizens

Actors and funding

Actors Funding
National government
Public support service providers
European Funds
National funds

Social partners

Social partners' role in designing the measure and form of involvement:

Trade unions Employers' organisations
Role No involvement No involvement
Form Not applicable Not applicable

Social partners' role in the implementation, monitoring and assessment phase:

  • No involvement
  • Main level of involvement: N/A

Involvement

No involvement.

Views and reactions

On 16 October, the assembly of the Slovenian Medical Association discussed the pressure on health workers during the epidemic, the lack of equipment, overfilled hospitals and exhaustion of health care workers. In conclusion, the assembly asked the Slovenian government to ‘grant health care workers temporary immunity for criminal and civil lawsuits that could follow incomplete care during the epidemic’. In the public letter A call to stop the demolition of the public health system , a group of doctors resolutely responded that no critical situation can be excuse for unbounding doctors from their moral obligations. They, in reverse, demanded conscientious objection for government’s measures which damage patients. The same letter drew attention to the government’s Decision on the application of measures laid down in the Communicable Disease Act in the case of COVID-19 (issued on 3 September 2020) in which COVID-19 epidemic was classified in a group of diseases with the highest mortality rate (between 45 and 100%), similar to the plague. They publicly ask the government if it is a preparation for the deprivation of all fundamental rights of citizens.

Sources

  • 03 September 2020: Sklep o uporabi ukrepov, ki jih določa Zakon o nalezljivih boleznih, pri nalezljivi bolezni COVID-19 [Decision on the application of measures laid down in the Communicable Disease Act in the case of COVID-19 (www.pisrs.si)
  • 19 October 2020: Začasna imuniteta za kriminalne in civilne tožbe [Temporary immunity for criminal and civil lawsuits (www.si21.com)
  • 24 October 2020: Odredba o začasnih ukrepih na področju izvajanja sekundariata, pripravništva in specializacije v času obvladovanja in preprečevanja širjenja nalezljive bolezni COVID-19 (Order on temporary measures regarding the implementaion on secondment, traineeship and specialisation in the time of control and prevention of infectious disease COVID-19 (www.pisrs.si)
  • 06 November 2020: Javno pismo: Poziv k ustavitvi razgradnje sistema javnega zdravstva [Public letter, A call to stop the demolition of the public health system (www.mladina.si)
  • 13 November 2020: Odredba o začasnih ukrepih na področju organizacije zdravstvene dejavnosti zaradi obvladovanja nalezljive bolezni COVID-19 [Order on temporary measures relating to the health care service due to infectious diseases COVID-19 (www.pisrs.si)

Citation

Eurofound (2020), Temporary availability of health care workers during the epidemic, case SI-2020-43/1484 (measures in Slovenia), COVID-19 EU PolicyWatch, Dublin, http://eurofound.link/covid19eupolicywatch

Disclaimer: This information has not been subject to the full Eurofound evaluation, editorial and publication process. All information is preliminary and subject to change.