Trade unions of doctors and nurses signed an agreement of cooperation on Monday, October 22.
"We're the closest colleagues in hospitals. The bad situation in health care is crowding in on doctors and nurses, so the fate of both professions is closely related. That's why we decided to sign an agreement that confirms our mutually close stances and is a clear response to all ill-wishers who want to see us as rivals," said head of the Doctor's Trade Union (LOZ) Peter Visolajský, as quoted by the TASR newswire.
According to the chair of the Nurses and Midwives Trade Union (OZSaPA), Iveta Svetlanská, the paths taken by the two organisations have been different until now, but they have set out plans for joint collective negotiations in the future. When it comes to the question of joint protests or strikes, the representatives of both trade unions describe this as speculative.
Svetlanská said that the common goal of LOZ and OZSaPA is to initiate systematic solutions in health care by respecting the memorandum - a document signed by LOZ and the former government on preventing Slovak doctors from handing in their notice en masse last year. Doctors, meanwhile, support nurses in their fight for higher salaries, which has already been taken to the Constitutional Court. The Sme daily wrote that the motion to stop the salary increases of nurses was filed by the Slovak Medical Chamber, uniting doctors; doctors’ and nurses’ unionists claim, however, that the Chamber does not represent unions.
"We believe that the Constitutional Court will issue a ruling in the near future and won't leave several tens of thousands of nurses and midwives in this uncertainty," said Visolajský. Both doctors and nurses criticise the lack of financial means provided to health-care facilities by health-insurance companies. "We think that the main thing is to get more money into the health-care system, which is only possible by making payments made by health-insurers into the system realistic, as well as by improving the transparency of public procurements in hospitals, another glutton for public finances," added Visolajský.
(Source: TASR, Sme)
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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