Italian army medical teams coming to Slovenian hospitals

Ljubljana, 4 December - Fifteen Italian military health professionals will come to Slovenia on Sunday to join the medical teams of the Slovenian Armed Forces helping in Covid-19 hospitals. The Italian team will be greeted by Defence Minister Matej Tonin and Health Minister Janez Poklukar in Kranj, the Defence Ministry said in a press release.

Berlin, Germany
Trating of Covid-19 patients.
Photo: dpa/STA

The arrival of the Italian team had been agreed at a meeting between Tonin and his Italian counterpart Lorenzo Guerini in Rome on 17 November.

The Italian military medical personnel will join the medical teams of the Slovenian Armed Forces in four Covid-19 hospitals - the UKC Ljubljana and Maribor hospitals, and the Celje and Novo Mesto hospitals.

According to web portal N1, the Italian team will be stationed in Ljubljana, near the Ljubljana hospital.

Tonin said after meeting his Italian counterpart in mid-November that the Italian Army planned to help Slovenia with up to 30 doctors and nurses as the country battles an increasing number of Covid-19 patients.

The Defence Ministry said at the time that the ministers had exchanged views on the current situation regarding the number of infected patients and the efforts to fight the pandemic.

Tonin asked his Italian counterpart for assistance with medical staff and, according to the ministry, Guerini said he understood the situation in Slovenia as Italy had had a similar experience and offered this form of assistance.

Based on the agreement between the ministers, the Slovenian Health Ministry determined what health experts Slovenia needs, and technical details were sorted out by the chiefs-of-staff of the country's armed forces.

The Italian military medical teams have been deployed to Slovenia on the basis of the existing cooperation agreement between the two armed forces, with accommodation and food provided to the Italians at Slovenia's expense, the ministry said.

Tonin said in November that he and Poklukar had talked about the possibility of medical assistance from other countries as well. But he stressed that these required coordinated action, "so that we're not overstaffed one minute and understaffed the next".

It is thus not clear yet when any other medical teams may arrive, as this depends on Slovenian hospitals' needs.

© STA, 2021