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Talks between health minister and doctors end without agreement

Talks lasting for more than six hours on November 21 between union representatives of doctors and Health Minister Ivan Uhliarik failed to reach an agreement, with the union leaders saying that more than 2,000 doctors in state-run hospitals remain resolved to carry through with their resignation notices that take effect on December 1, the SITA newswire reported.

Talks lasting for more than six hours on November 21 between union representatives of doctors and Health Minister Ivan Uhliarik failed to reach an agreement, with the union leaders saying that more than 2,000 doctors in state-run hospitals remain resolved to carry through with their resignation notices that take effect on December 1, the SITA newswire reported.

Marian Kollár, the head of the Medical Trade Unions Association (LOZ) said after the meeting that no agreement was reached on any of the doctors' demands, with the unionists criticising the minister's unwillingness to provide any legal guarantees.

"We are in an emergency situation. Our goal to comprehensively resolve problems in the Slovak health-care system remains the same but, unfortunately, we have failed today again," Kollár told SITA.

Uhliarik, however, was not so negative, saying that the doctors had accepted the halt in transforming the hospitals to joint-stock companies as well as proposed solutions regarding compliance with the Labour Code and provision of additional funds for the health-care sector.

"We have more or less agreed upon these points but no accord was achieved on the matter of wages," Uhliarik said.

The unionists did not agree with the minister’s conclusions and maintain no agreements were achieved. The parties discussed the issue of the pay rise suggested by the minister but Uhliarik said Kollár refused to sign a memorandum that offered doctors an additional €300 in their salaries. The minister repeated that this was the maximum amount the country could afford to pay while the doctors reportedly want an average increase of €800.

The next round of talks is to be held on Wednesday, November 23, that will include Prime Minister Iveta Radičová.

Source: SITA

Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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