Slovak doctors continue to put pressure on the Ministry of Health and the government over their dissatisfaction with pay conditions and the transformation of hospitals.
The doctors’ trade union organisation LOZ now plans to employ the tactic used by Czech doctors, i.e. by threatening a mass resignation. This is not only in respect of the roughly 2,000 members in the LOZ trade union, as it is appealing to all 18,000 or so doctors in the country to join the protest.
Head of LOZ, Michal Polician, refused to divulge the planned date of the resignation, while noting that everything was just at the preparatory stage. Whether or not the mass resignation will take place will depend very much on how accommodating PM Iveta Radicova is with the trade union in a meeting scheduled later this month, but it will also hinge on the outcome of the parliamentary Health Committee meeting convened for this week.
The doctors are grieving that the new draft of the Labour Code should safeguard appropriate pay for work, accounting for the standard number of working hours, and are calling for their salaries to be scaled. They also want to prevent hospitals from being transformed into joint stock companies, something the Ministry of Health is intent to carry out.
Spokeswoman for the Ministry of Health, Katarina Zollerova, said the ministry does not see the mass resignation taking place, and that it should have been done four years ago under the former government, as the present government inherited a EUR 200 million debt-ridden sector. She said it was unethical as it was using patients as hostages.
Zollerova also claimed that subject to proposals being passed in parliament, the health sector would get EUR 200 million more in 2012, part of which would go towards salaries.