More than 2,000 doctors out of the 6,500 working in Slovakia's hospitals have handed over notices of termination of their employment contracts to the Doctors Trade Union Association (LOZ), the TASR newswire reported.
"The number of resignation forms isn't final and their collection will continue into next week," said LOZ head Marián Kollár. The union plans to submit the notices to the hospitals by the end of September, he added.
The union said it views the en masse resignations as a last resort to save the Slovak health-care system. Doctors who have signed a declaration expressing their goal to fight for better conditions for the Slovak health-care system – and for better salaries – said they are ready to turn in the notices to terminate their employment contracts to their employers if their demands are not met.
LOZ has prepared a list of what it calls the ten biggest problems in Slovakia’s health-care system, which include the government’s intention to transform public hospitals into joint-stock companies, low state contributions for health insurance policyholders covered by the state, wasted money in hospitals, a long-term shortfall in allocating money to health care, and violations of the Labour Code, particularly the number of hours that doctors are expected to work.
An advisor to the health minister said that the situation might not be as dramatic as it seems. The Sme daily wrote on September 27 that Tomáš Szalay of the Health Policy Institute – and an advisor to Health Minister Ivan Uhliarik – said that doctors do not have many opportunities to go elsewhere and that most of the doctors who have mastered foreign languages have already left Slovakia.
Peter Kováč, a lawyer and a doctor, also said, as reported by Sme, that some part of the 2,000 doctors who have signed their resignations cannot or do not want to leave. Medical personnel who want to officially leave Slovakia need licenses and certificates from the Slovak Doctors’ Chamber, the Health Ministry and the Slovak Medical University, according to Kováč – but none of these institutions have confirmed a markedly higher number of such applications but only dozens of them. Lack of language skills seems to be the biggest problem, particularly for doctors who may wish to go to Austria or Germany, Sme wrote.
Source: TASR, Sme
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
The Slovak Spectator cannot vouch for the accuracy of the information presented in its Flash News postings.
27. Sep 2011 at 10:00