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Minister Černač in Podravje: ''EU funding will help us improve the quality of our health services and care; it will also shorten waiting times.''

Minister Zvone Černač today visited University Medical Centre Maribor as part of the government visit to the Podravje region. The Minister paid a visit to the Slivniško Pohorje-based Department of pulmonary disease that will be relocated to new premises thanks to EU funding. In Maribor, the Minister made a visit to the neighbourhood Pod Pekrsko gorco, and met with the Mayor of Selnica ob Dravi dr. Vlasta Krmelj and her colleagues. State Secretary mag. Monika Kirbiš Rojs also participated in the government visit, meeting Mayors of Poljčane and Hoče-Slivnica and paying a site visit to the Business Zone Tezno.

After meeting for a working session with the other members of the government at the Ptuj Castle, Minister Zvone Černač visited the neighbourhood Pod Pekrsko gorco. ‘’The neighbourhood boasting over 400 residential units, of which 60 are assisted-living type, and a day care centre, is getting a final touch. With a range of amenities and services, it will offer comfortable living to many young families and older citizens, being a safe harbor for all those looking for a stable home,’’ the Minister said and underlined that both the Slovenian government and the Housing Fund of the Republic of Slovenia as the body responsible for public housing projects advocate for a balanced distribution of new residential buildings across Slovenian regions.

The Minister later met with the Mayor of Selnica ob Dravi dr. Vlasta Krmelj. They discussed ambitious future projects of the municipality and touched on the possibility of the EU co-financing the projects.

Site visit to the University Medical Centre Maribor was the highlight of the minister’s visit programme. The Minister visited the premises of the Department of pulmonary disease in the company of dr. Matjaž Vogrin Medical Director at the University Medical Centre and deputy Marijan Pojbič. With approved support from the EU, the department is set to be relocated to a new site, which will ensure better working conditions in the area of pulmonology. The nearly EUR 4 million project will receive EUR 3.6 million in ERDF funding under the React-EU initiative. On this occasion, the Minister stressed that we have to behave responsibly, for the sake of ourselves and others, and urged people to get vaccinated: ‘’It only takes a few seconds, but can save lives.’’

At the University Medical Centre Maribor, the Minister met with the representatives of the University Medical Centre and Head of the University Medical Centre dr. Anton Crnjac and the Minister of Health Janez Poklukar to discuss other projects planned for the University Medical Centre Maribor, including the construction of a new intermediate care hospital and a new infection clinic. On the margins of the event, the Minister took part in a press conference in which he particularly focused on the Recovery and Resilience Plan, the Multiannual Financial Framework 2021-2027 and the React-EU initiative which will usher in new EU-supported projects geared at significantly improving the healthcare system and strengthening its resilience. The tide is already turning with a training rollout targeting healthcare professionals getting underway. In addition, various EU funding mechanisms will have funds ring-fenced for energy-efficient renovation of hospitals. ‘’We’ll do everything in our power to make sure that these projects are carried out by the end of 2023 and that the projects planned in the Recovery and Resilience Plan are realized by the end of 2026. This will help improve the quality of health services and care; it will also shorten waiting times,’’ the Minister said and added: ‘’Grants come from the people, we need to be responsible and use smartly that money by giving it back to people, also through delivery of quality healthcare.’’ The Minister also recalled that the government recently adopted an act which is already in the legislative procedure and makes nearly EUR 2 billion available in the next decade to strengthen the healthcare system at various levels. Government Office for Development and European Cohesion Policy has already done a lot in this respect by approving EU funding under the React-EU initiative, including for the construction of the intermediate care hospital and EUR 93 million worth of investment in as many as 1,200 beds in new retirement homes in the next two years.

State Secretary mag. Monika Kirbiš Rojs also participated in the government visit to the Podravje region. State Secretary and deputy mag. Karmen Furman met with the Mayor of Poljčane Stanislav Kovačič. They discussed municipal projects in the pipeline and paid a site visit to a kindergarten that received EU funding and won a Plečnik Award for its architectural achievements. Later that day, State Secretary met with the Director of Business Zone Tezno Gorazd Bende for a site visit to the zone and inspected the road constructed with support from the EU. In Municipality Hoče-Slivnica, State Secretary met with Deputy mayors Andreja Kavaš and Boris Pust to visit the construction site for the southern access road to the industrial zone that is carried out with support from the EU. On this occasion, State Secretary told that EU funding would be available for business zone development and expansion under the Recovery and Resilience Plan and under the next multiannual financial framework.

The government will wrap up the visit to the Podravje region in the General Maister Auditorium in Maribor with a public debate on the development and prospects of the region featuring mayors, businessmen and other actors driving the development in the region.


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