We thank lawyer Lina Budak for her brave public appearance and sharing her own, extremely unpleasant experience with the Croatian health care system.

She clearly stated that she is doing this because she wants to prevent something similar from happening to others. To expose oneself in public at the moment of an active struggle with a malignant disease is extremely demanding and exhausting, and we want her to put her full focus towards her health and wellbeing. She has shown true civic courage and how to advocate for public health that is human-centered as well as what it means to put the common good before one’s own interest.

The level of disorganization within the healthcare system is extremely dangerous for everyone who is connected to it. Almost every day, new problems arise that fall on the backs of patients as well as the doctors who take care of them. The problems are such that the doctors themselves sometimes find it difficult to keep the part of the oath in which they undertake that the health and well-being of their patients will be their most important concern. However, we believe that chaos in the system should not be an excuse for anyone to shift responsibility and publicly deal with patients. The difficulties that patients have in finding the necessary information and navigating through our healthcare system should not be treated as the sole responsibility of patients, and we hear this all the time from the authorities. Health systems and professionals need to be able to provide and communicate information in a way that is tailored to the needs of patients. That is why the focus of the announced health literacy program should be improving the literacy of the health system, not just patients.

Croatian healthcare has once again shown the lack of real dedication to monitoring and providing support to patients, from the moment they enter the doctor’s office to the end of treatment. The exits of high-ranking people from the system clearly show that we cannot expect systemic improvements in the future. Namely, when problems become public, decision-makers usually appear as if they have no knowledge that the system is devastated, that clear procedures do not exist or are not known to patients, that there are delays in ensuring the continuity and quality of care. The unwillingness to take responsibility and admit mistakes, along with showing little interest in changing the system, is devastating. It’s extremely unfortunate how much capacity is spent on extinguishing fires in the system, and the time has never come to approach the changes strategically, to dismantle the system, rearrange it, and for someone to really start managing it.

Cases like this of Lina Budak, or the late Vlado Matijanić, or Mirela Čavajda, are only the tips of the iceberg on which we will all end up if the essential attitude of the health system towards patients with life-threatening diagnosis does not change. The inability to create and implement a meaningful reform of those at the top of the pyramid is known to both health workers and patients. And while patients know and say that there are too few professionals, that many “escape” abroad, that most work hard and are not paid enough, when something goes wrong, health professionals suddenly claim that everything has seemed to be perfect, that there are no errors in the system.

In a country where health care can only be obtained through a prescription “call a man” or by paying for expensive private services, we must demand substantial changes in the health care system, as well as the resignation of leaders in the system who are not capable of marginal changes.

On the occasion of this, another in a series of shameful cases of negligence (which may be caused by numerous objective facts that should be clearly stated), but even more so due to the callous communication of health institutions with a woman who is fighting for her life, we ask Minister Beroš and Prime Minister Plenković to publicly apologize to Mrs. Lina Budak regarding the lack of support from the public health system of the Republic of Croatia, which caused a significant delay in the initiation of treatment for a serious illness, and inappropriate statements by the minister himself. Ministers and prime ministers who are responsible and aware of their role are obliged to listen to their citizens, including the experience of Mrs. Lina Budak. Gentlemen, this is your direct responsibility.

That’s why we ask Minister of Health Beroš and Prime Minister Plenković:

  1. When will the life of every person fighting a deadly disease finally become a priority of the health care system? Because hundreds of thousands of our fellow citizens do not have time to wait for new excuses and quasi-reforms!
  2. When will someone finally say: “Everything was not as it should be, we are sorry, we apologize and we will do everything to make sure it never happens again?”

Taking political responsibility is the first step towards substantial change. A step we are still waiting for.


  1. ACT Grupa
  2. Antifašistička liga RH
  3. BLOK – Lokalna baza za osvježavanje kulture
  4. Centar za kulturne djelatnosti
  5. Centar za mirovne studije
  6. CESI – Centar za edukaciju, savjetovanje i istraživanje
  7. Centar za građanske inicijative Poreč
  8. Centar za mir, nenasilje i ljudska prava – Osijek
  9. CROSOL – Platforma za međunarodnu građansku solidarnost Hrvatske
  10. DKolektiv – organizacija za društveni razvoj, Osijek
  11. Documenta – Centar za suočavanje s prošlošću
  12. Dugine obitelji
  13. Europska civilna inicijativa Zagreb
  14. Gong
  15. Građanski odbor za ljudska prava
  16. Hrvatsko novinarsko društvo
  17. Informativno pravni centar
  18. kolekTIRV | Za prava trans, interspolnih i rodno varijantnih osoba
  19. Krijesnica – udruga za pomoć djeci i obiteljima suočenim s malignim bolestima
  20. Kuća ljudskih prava Zagreb
  21. Politiscope
  22. Projekt građanskih prava Sisak
  23. Rehabilitacijski centar za stres i traumu
  24. Roditelji u akciji – Roda
  25. SOLIDARNA – Zaklada za ljudska prava i solidarnost
  26. Status M
  27. Udruga za promicanje inkluzije
  28. Udruga za razvoj civilnog društva Bonsai, Dubrovnik
  29. Udruga za promicanje mentalnog zdravlja Feniks Split
  30. Udruga za podršku žrtvama i svjedocima
  31. Udruga za psihosocijalnu pomoć Susret
  32. Udruženje za razvoj kulture “URK”
  33. Udruga za zaštitu i promicanje ljudskih prava “Sofija”
  34. Udruga žena Vukovar
  35. Udruga Ludruga
  36. Zelena Istra, Pula
  37. Ženska soba

Cover photo: Pexels @Sandy Torchon

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