Health Minister Zuzana Zvolenská will meet representatives of the Slovak Chamber of Nurses and Midwives on April 11 to discuss the situation regarding the law increasing minimum salaries for nurses and midwives that became effective on April 1, the TASR newswire reported. President Ivan Gašparovič is also scheduled to meet officials from the Slovak Medical Chamber on the same day; that chamber had been attempting to prevent the law from taking effect.
Zvolenská said that the problem stems from a lack of communication between the parties and that may be even more harmful than any lack of funding. Referring to a sequence of events that took place before the new government took office last week she opined that a number of things would not have happened if there been proper discussion.
Speaking before she took up her post, Zvolenská criticised the new law as a cruel April Fool's Day joke initiated by outgoing health minister Ivan Uhliarik, adding that despite Uhliarik's claims that there are sufficient resources to finance salary increases for nurses, the opposite is true.
"It's very sad that even though Uhliarik had known about the problems for several weeks, he had not resolved them," Zvolenská said on April 1.
A number of hospitals in Slovakia claim they lack the funding needed to cover the increase in minimum salaries for nurses and midwives specified in the new law. Media reported that nurses at some hospitals were threatened with dismissal notices unless they signed new addenda to their employment contracts under disadvantageous terms.
Parliament approved the new law in early February, increasing minimum monthly salaries of nurses and midwives from between €640 (starting pay) and €928 per month (after 33 years experience).
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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