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The Protector of Citizens, Zoran Pašalić, talked with the owners of private care homes who have reported that they had most problems with the length of the licensing procedure and the existing tax regulations and he announced that he would contact the competent Ministry in order to look at all problems that they possibly had.

“I will request the Ministry of Labor, Employment, Veteran and Social Affairs to notify me on the issues that the owners of private care homes raised in order for working conditions to be equal for state-owned and privately-owned care homes and for beneficiaries to be provided with the highest level of services”, said Pašalić at the meeting with the members of the Association of privately owned social protection institutions, care homes for adults and the elderly.

Pašalić also stated that the Institution of the Protector of Citizens received a small number of complaints about the work of the care homes for the elderly, while there were more complaints about the work of the authorities which we are legally mandated to monitor, primarily the Ministry of Labor, Employment, Veteran and Social Affairs which is in charge of controlling social welfare institutions.

“The protection of the elderly, as I have previously announced, is going to be our priority in both state and private care homes for the elderly and in their families. Those are our mothers, fathers, other close relatives, and all of us together have a duty and obligation to ensure a dignified treatment in their old age wherever they spend it, be it in a care home or at their own home” Pašalić emphasized.

The Protector of Citizens, among other things, is mandated to preventively control the work of social institutions, which implies that the visits are conducted without announcement at any time of day or night because the focus of our work is the protection and improvement of the position of two most endangered categories of the society – the children and the elderly, Pašalić said.

The President of the Association, Mr. Radoslav Milovanović, pointed out that the problems that they are facing such as, first and foremost a long licensing procedure and existing tax regulations, are the problems of our entire society, but also of the elderly who are in need of such accommodation, and that better cooperation and state support are needed in order to advance their work.

The members of the Association said that they also had problems with unfair competition created by illegal care homes for the elderly which they had reported to the competent Ministry because their work and quality of services were not under the control of the competent inspections and the eldest beneficiaries could be particularly endangered.

Representatives of the Association also pointed out the problem with media reporting on the problems they have in their work and highlighted that when a case reaches the public, the data that are released to the public are generally not verified, which affects the reputation and business operation of all private homes that care for the elderly.