Just when everyone thought the crisis in the health service caused by the mass resignation of thousands of doctors had ended, the doctors’ trade union LOZ has called a strike alert, less than a week after an agreement was struck with the government.
The strike alert was announced on Saturday over discontent at how the Memorandum signed with the government is being handled, and will remain in place until the doctors, or rather their trade union, feel that the agreements made in the Memorandum have been respected.
The trade union LOZ is uneasy about how various MPs are questioning the content of the Memorandum, which still has to make it through parliament before it can be put into practice. It deals with the four basic demands of doctors, based on which around 2,400 of them handed in their resignations in October.
Head of LOZ Marian Kollar, who has been uncompromising, if not obstinate, in dealing with the dispute, is therefore calling on the government and parliament to respect the commitments made to doctors and patients immediately. He declared that they were ready to take immediate action again, if necessary.
Essentially, Mr. Kollar and the trade union are not happy with how the agreements have been penned into draft legislation, which is being discussed today. They claim that it differs significantly from what was agreed in the Memorandum and so are calling on acting PM Iveta Radicova not to endorse the draft law today.
Another fact is that the final word regarding their demands falls to parliament, with possibly one of the biggest hitches being the halted transformation of hospitals, as some MPs are against it.
In response, the Ministry of Health by way of its spokeswoman Katarina Zollerova, stated that the ministry was proceeding in line with the Memorandum and that “LOZ should stop traumatising patients and focus on repairing the shattered trust between patients and doctors”.
For more on the health crisis in Slovakia, click here