MPs will conduct an inspection at the Health Ministry in the near future to look at a tender to provide emergency medical services, the chairman of parliament’s health committee, Slovak Democratic and Christian Union (SDKÚ) MP Viliam Novotný, announced after the committee met on September 2.
He said that the inspection was prompted by suspicions about non-transparent practices and cronyism in the first round of the tender. MPs want to carry out the tender during the current session of parliament.
The contentious aspects of the tender were also pointed to by emergency health workers on Wednesday, September 2. About 70 of them protested in front of the Government Office against the results of the first round of the tender. They asked Prime Minister Robert Fico (Smer) to help them. The protesters say that the tender was manipulated and carried out in such a way as to ensure that companies close to the government were successful. They said that they had concerns about 77 licences issued to providers of emergency health services. Ján Hencel of the Emergency Medical Services Association also claimed that 600 doctors and emergency workers would lose their jobs; some of them, he said, had already been laid off.
Health Minister Richard Raši (Smer) said that the emergency health-care workers would not lose their jobs. "The number of medical emergency workers is below what is needed," says Raši, who predicted that all the emergency health workers would ultimately have a job, and that "not 600, or even six" of them would be laid off. He also said that the tender was carried out under exactly the same conditions as four years ago when the current providers signed their contracts. Even the Emergency Medical Services Association said that the conditions were good, according to Raši, who described the tactics of the aggrieved workers as a form of blackmail. After the tender results were published on August 18, the providers learned that 53 emergency stations would be closed, while 77 stations would be operated by 16 companies.
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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3. Sep 2009 at 14:00