Prime minister and representatives of doctors still seeking accord

More than 2,000 doctors who handed in resignation notices do not plan to withdraw them for the time being, even after more than three hours of talks with Prime Minister Iveta Radičová held on Tuesday, November 8. In fact, the doctors say they did not discuss the topic at the meeting at all. Despite that, Radičová and the doctors’ trade unions believe they will eventually find a consensus and that health-care provision will not be threatened.

More than 2,000 doctors who handed in resignation notices do not plan to withdraw them for the time being, even after more than three hours of talks with Prime Minister Iveta Radičová held on Tuesday, November 8. In fact, the doctors say they did not discuss the topic at the meeting at all. Despite that, Radičová and the doctors’ trade unions believe they will eventually find a consensus and that health-care provision will not be threatened.

Head of the Medical Trade Unions Association (LOZ) Marian Kollár said the doctors are determined to reach an accord, the SITA newswire reported. The prime minister added that it is in the government's interest to avoid citizens becoming victims of the current situation in the health-care system. However, she added that she will not promise the unions something she cannot deliver.

Radičová and doctors are due to meet again next week. The prime minister and the doctors discussed transformation and wage raises; she commented that they have a common goal – rationalising the operation of Slovak hospitals – but differ over how this goal can be achieved.

At the end of September, 2,411 doctors from 34 hospitals all over Slovakia submitted resignation notices to their employers. Doctors asked principally for a salary increase, a halt to the transformation of public hospitals into joint-stock companies, strict observance of the Labour Code, and more money to be spent on public health care.

Doctors say all their requirements must be fulfilled before they will withdraw their resignations. President Ivan Gašparovič and Radičová confirmed on Monday, November 7, that the transformation process would be put on ice. Health Minister Ivan Uhliarik responded that he would respect the decision of the head of state and the prime minister.

Source: SITA

Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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