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Unions unite against Zvolenská

DOCTORS, nurses, and other health-care workers have expressed strong opposition to plans, announced by Health Minister Zuzana Zvolenská, to allow the prosecution of health-care workers who refuse to work during a state of emergency, the Sme daily reported on January 22.

DOCTORS, nurses, and other health-care workers have expressed strong opposition to plans, announced by Health Minister Zuzana Zvolenská, to allow the prosecution of health-care workers who refuse to work during a state of emergency, the Sme daily reported on January 22.

If the new rules are passed, the government could fine doctors and nurses who refuse to work up to €3,300.

The proposal is a response to the situation that arose in December 2011, when the government announced a state of emergency during a mass protest action by hospital doctors. At the time, many doctors deliberately took sick leave to avoid returning to work and the existing penalties turned out to be unenforceable, Sme wrote.

According to the proposed changes, health–care workers could be fined for avoiding their duties during a state of emergency. Doctors’ unions have protested against the proposal in a letter to Prime Minister Robert Fico in which they ask him to stop the proposal in parliament.

The original proposal would have created a criminal liability for health–care workers, with punishment of up to two years in prison for avoiding their duties during a state of emergency. However, this measure has since been dropped.

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