DOCTORS in Žilina Hospital started filing resignations en masse concerning the emergency service at 14:00 on Thursday, December 6, in protest at the firing of their colleagues. The Health Ministry at one point considered evacuating patients, the Sme daily wrote on December 7.
Peter Visolajský, the head of the Medical Trade Union Association (LOZ), said that the doctors had chosen to give notice in solidarity with 11 colleagues sacked from the orthopaedic ward and also in protest over army doctors being used in their place. On Thursday evening, negotiations between the hospital management and the unions led to an initial agreement: the head of the hospital will not lay off the orthopaedic doctors and in return they will agree to salary cuts.
Visolajský commented that he would not rule out resignations from the emergency service over the next year in other hospitals, too.
LOZ has so far not declared a strike alert due to the events in Žilina Hospital, because, according Visolajský, they want to calm the situation. At the same time, however, he did not rule out further action by trade unions if the problem is not resolved with overtime work. Moreover, he did not rule out a similar scenario developing in other hospitals across Slovakia.
Health Minister Zuzana Zvolenská described the decision of doctors from the Žilina Hospital to refuse to work overtime only tens of minutes before the start of their designated shift as unethical and immoral. She said that lawyers are reviewing whether or not this is a criminal offence.