The time for negotiating is over, the president of the Slovak Medical Chamber, Milan Dragula, said after a meeting on Tuesday, May 10, between representatives of professional and trade union organisations in the health-care sector and members of parliament’s health committee.
Health-care representatives wanted to discuss ways to increase funding for the sector, but were not happy with the outcome of the meeting and will agree on further steps at the end of May. Dragula said, as quoted by the SITA newswire, that the next steps should be more radical, depending on medical staffers' feelings, although he did not provide further details. Union leaders were not satisfied with the meeting either, reported Michal Polician, the head of the Doctors’ Union. He added that the decision of his organisation to file collective resignations is still in effect. He claims that all organisations from the sector will support this step.
Health-care representatives say that the situation in the sector is critical and are demanding additional funding of €126 million this year. According to them, this represents the shortfall of funds caused by lower payments by the state for state policyholders.
Finance Minister Ivan Mikloš has stated several times that he will not allocate more funds for the sector without systemic changes. Health Minister Ivan Uhliarik reacted by saying that his ministry is preparing systemic changes to secure more funds for the sector, and in particular to improve the effectiveness of their use. These should appear this year. He emphasised, as reported by SITA, his intention to introduce supplementary health insurance as of 2013.
Uhliarik said health-care employees’ requirements are legitimate but thinks such changes need time and a longer professional debate. Deputies of the ruling coalition parties have stressed that the previous government allocated 40 percent more money to the sector without any effect. They maintain that simply pouring more money into health care will not resolve anything.
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
The Slovak Spectator cannot vouch for the accuracy of the information presented in its Flash News postings.
11. May 2011 at 14:00