Nurses and midwives wearing black gathered in front of parliament on Tuesday, May 17, in order to draw the attention of MPs to the conditions in which medical staff work and to their low salaries. A petition called 'If we don't care about ourselves, who will care for you?' has been signed by 240,000 people over the past two months.
The petition committee handed in the petition itself to Speaker of Parliament Richard Sulík (Freedom and Solidarity (SaS)). President of the Slovak Chamber of Nurses and Midwives (SKSPA) Mária Levyová told journalists that they were very disappointed with Sulík's reaction, however. She said Sulík at the beginning of the meeting told the nurses that the bus in which they had travelled was blocking the access road to the parliament building. "It isn't possible to react so light-heartedly to the demands of Slovak people. His behaviour was arrogant," Levyová said, as reported by the TASR newswire.
The situation will definitely be taken seriously, the chairman of the parliamentary health committee, Viliam Novotný (Slovak Democratic and Christian Union (SDKÚ)), assured representatives of the petition committee at a meeting he held with them. MPs understand the requirements of nurses and midwives and will make sufficient efforts to make sure that the petition does not end with parliament acknowledging it but doing nothing more, he promised.
The demands stated in the petition include, for example, an increase in the hourly wage (the current rate is up to €4.50 per hour) and retirement at the age of 58. Health Minister Ivan Uhliarik said that his ministry is doing everything possible to improve conditions for nurses.
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
The Slovak Spectator cannot vouch for the accuracy of the information presented in its Flash News postings.
18. May 2011 at 10:00