Policy responses for Croatia - HSRM


Policy responses for Croatia

2.2 Workforce

At the regional (county) level, Croatia has a well-developed network for the infectious disease surveillance and prevention. In the 21 county public health institutes there are 103 teams (each consisting of an epidemiologist or public health medicine specialist and two sanitary assistants). In addition, there are more than 100 epidemiologists or public health medicine specialists in the other county or national institutes and agencies.
At present, no information is available on measures to increase or maintain the availability of health workers. Currently, there are also no measures that would affect the placement of medical and nursing students.
According to the Health Care Act, on 14 March 2020 the Minister of Health issued a Decision on the measures of mobilization, organization of work and working hours, changes in place and working conditions of health institutions and their employees and private health care professionals in the public health service network and the use of medical and technical equipment and other assets (https://www.bolnicasb.hr/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/Odluka-o-mjerama-mobilizacije-organizacije-i-rasporeda-rada-i-radnog-vremena-Ministarstva-zdravstva.pdf). The aim of introducing this measure was to prepare the existing human resources as well as physical capacities to a potential scenario that could happen in Croatia. Croatia is preparing for new conditions by strengthening its defence strategy if the number of infected people starts to rise rapidly.
Each hospital has organized work in shifts and on-call duties. Some institutions have divided staff into two cohorts, who have to switch shifts every two weeks. Vertical or horizontal role or task substitutions are not yet necessary, but substitutions inside institutions or local areas are in place.
Hospitals provide training to their healthcare professionals, but there is currently no evidence of active training measures for other specialties (especially physicians).
The Teaching Institute of Public Health “Dr. Andrija Štampar” has established phone lines that provide psychological assistance to doctors during the COVID outbreak. Telephone lines of the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Prevention of the Teaching Institute of Public Health “Dr. Andrija Štampar” are available daily from 8am to 10pm (https://www.hlk.hr/telefonske-linije-za-psiholosku-pomoc-lijecnicima.aspx).