Government Calls State of Emergency in 15 Hospitals

With no progress made in the head-to-head between the government and doctors, late yesterday evening interim PM Iveta Radicova announced a state of emergency that will concern 15 state-run hospitals.

Kramare Hospital, Bratislava

The state of emergency was put in place today and pinpoints specific doctors and not the hospitals themselves, with hospital directors to make calculated decisions about which doctors they need to keep the hospital running properly.

This means that those doctors who are called to work will have to work even if their notice period has ended. According to news portal, around 80 doctors at the university hospital in Trnava say they will not come to work despite the state of emergency, arguing that they would officially be unemployed at the time.

The decision to take back their resignation lies with each individual doctor, but with the latest proposed hike in salaries, only around 40 of them have withdrawn their notices, although more are expected to do it today. This means that from the initial 2,400 or so doctors taking part in the mass resignation, around 2,000 still have their notices pending.

Other measures imposed by the government will see some wards and whole clinics shut down on 1 December, adding to the 150 departments that were already closed during the course of this year.

After a meeting of her crisis staff, Radicova announced: “I want to assure citizens that the government, by its decisions and adopted measures, has secured acute and non-urgent healthcare”. Health minister Ivan Uhliarik believes that doctors will see that the government is endeavouring and willing to make an agreement

The PM will hold talks today with representatives of doctors from the 15 hospitals in question (not with the trade union), while the health minister assured doctors that the EUR 300 hike in salaries would not mean loss of some holiday or specific allowances.

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