- Published: 06.04.2021.
Children security is the most important priority. We should focus on individual responsibility and prevention
Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said on Tuesday the responsibility was individual in the case of a girl of two and a half who died as a result of severe injuries suspected to have been inflicted by the mother.
He said the system did not fail and that Family and Social Policy Minister Josip Aladrović was not responsible for the tragedy.
"Here we should look at the individual responsibility of everyone who was involved, not a systemic mistake," Plenković told the press when asked who would be held to account for the child's death.
He said the system responded promptly in the case and that Aladrović did not make any mistake.
"Here it can be precisely established who is responsible. That's why we insisted on the immediate removal of the director (of the social welfare centre) in Nova Gradiška, and then sent an inspection and administrative oversight team. There is no generalising. How this happened must be established concretely."
Plenković said this case would prompt legal changes and that "no concrete connection can be made between possible professional mistakes by certain people and the minister's responsibility."
He said that in cases of dysfunctional families, one should not insist on a child being with the biological family. "As soon as it's proved that children are in danger, they should be removed from the environment in which they are helpless victims of a situation in which they should not be."
Plenković said that although no one could vouch that similar tragedies would not happen again, the state would do its best to reduce such situations as much as possible.
"We'll see to it that the system functions better and that such situations don't happen, with the child returned from a foster family to the biological family where the tragedy occurred. That wasn't a good or smart decision," he said, announcing a detailed review of the entire social welfare system.
Plenković said his government had ensured the physical and technical protection of all social welfare centres and that social workers were declared officials and their pay was raised. "But all that carries professional accountability in certain situations and this is a matter of professional accountability."
Debt to drug wholesalers
Asked about the debt to wholesale drug suppliers, he announced that a detailed review of all expenses would be made in the next four weeks to establish how hospitals generated such enormous expenses.
"Someone orders something, constantly stating needs, a third party issues an invoice, and then before an election or a holiday this invoice is presented to the government (with the demand to) find HRK 1 billion. That's what this is about."
Plenković said the current system was not good and that a reform was not a matter for the minister of health alone but the Croatian Health Insurance Fund as well, which he said signed contracts and set limits for hospitals. In the end, he added, this is the responsibility of all the hospital heads.
"I tasked the ministers to review in detail all liabilities together with the services so that we can see what the real bills are, what are arrears, some other expenses. There are quite a few details in the expense structure we can talk about."
Plenković also said the government would make a decision on local elections on 15 April and that, under the law, they would be held on the third Sunday in May.