The boxing match between doctors and the Ministry of Health has moved into the next round, with health minister Ivan Uhliarik running out of his corner to get in the first punch.
After a few thousand doctors throughout Slovakia handed in their notices at the end of September, minister Uhliarik is now putting pressure on hospital directors to replace those doctors who handed in their notice if they do not take back their resignations within the next month.
Hospital directors are speaking to doctors on an individual basis in an attempt to break down their unity, and it might just be working as several doctors have already withdrawn their resignations at hospitals in Piestany and Kovacova, for instance. It is not known whether the threat of replacement or something else is behind their decision.
The tactical strategy could backfire, though, as hospitals in the Czech Republic are already approaching doctors from Slovakia to join them instead. Given the pay conditions for doctors in Slovakia compared to other countries, including the Czech Republic, Slovakia just might see a brain-drain in the health service as the health minister refuses to yield to their demands.