The chairman of the Association of Doctors’ Trade Unions (LOZ), Marian Kollár, announced at a press conference on June 22 that the willingness of the trade unions to continue to participate in dialogue could easily turn into mass resignations as early as this autumn, the TASR newswire reported.

LOZ has been carrying out an internal survey within hospitals to determine which doctors would be willing to take this action and reported that a total of 1,500 doctors have indicated their consent.

"If there is no will for dialogue, we'll decide on further proceedings after completing the declaration," said Kollár, adding that mass resignations may come at the end of this process. "We're big optimists regarding our colleagues' current interest in the situation," he said, as quoted by TASR.

Around 60 to 80 percent of doctors in teaching hospitals are prepared to take tough action, with Kollár saying that salaries are not the main motivation for the protest but rather the planned transformation of hospitals into joint-stock companies.

LOZ member Roman Procházka specifically criticised the transformation into private companies, pointing to the financial interests of a "certain wealthy financial group". LOZ listed the ten biggest problems in the Slovak health-care system, some of which included low state contributions for policyholders, money-wasting in hospitals, a long-term shortfall in allocating money to the healthcare system and violations of the Labour Code.

The Health Ministry stated that LOZ should address its criticism to ministry representatives in a direct discussion as other doctors' organisations do and not send messages via the media.

"The transformation of hospitals into joint-stock companies, which has been approved by parliament, is an important step towards raising doctors' salaries," said Health Ministry spokesperson Katarána Zollerová, pointing to higher salaries for doctors working in hospitals that were transformed six years ago.

"You can imagine what can be resolved at round table discussions with 150 people taking part," said Kollár in response.

Source: TASR

Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
The Slovak Spectator cannot vouch for the accuracy of the information presented in its Flash News postings.