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Žilina hospital director steps down, 39 more nurses file resignations

ŽILINA  Faculty Hospital director Štefan Volak has stepped down after being urged by Health Minister Viliam Čislák to “assume personal responsibility” for the state of affairs at the hospital.

Štefan Volák, head of the Žilina hospital.(Source: SITA)

“Health Minister Viliam Čislák inquired into the situation at the hospital in Žilina in light of the tension there that has come to a head in the form of resignations by nurses from the intensive care unit,” ministry spokesperson Zuzana Čižmáriková told the TASR newswire on March 21. “He called on the director to assume personal responsibility for the situation that has arisen. The director has complied with this call and resigned.”

A total of 25 nurses have opted to leave the hospital in desperation vis-a-vis the management’s incompetence and failure to address problems that have been piling up at the hospital for a long time, Slovak Nurses and Midwives Chamber (SKSaPA) head Iveta Lazorová said earlier. The nurses urged the facility’s management to cut their overtime hours and to increase the number of nurses in the intensive care unit – as well as in the hospital as a whole – so that the wards can function properly.

The nurses in fact followed in the footsteps of 13 doctors at the hospital’s internal medicine ward who had filed their resignations in early March in protest against what they deemed to be cost concerns dictating patient care.

Head of the Doctors Trade Union Association Peter Visolajský reacted by saying that Volák’s decision to step down does not resolve the problems that patients in the hospital’s internal medicine ward face.

“The departure of a director who has failed does give hope for an improvement in the situation for Zilina hospital's patients,” Visolajský said. “The thirteen doctors of the internal medicine ward have said that they'll withdraw their resignations only if the adverse situation of the patients is addressed. They've been bemoaning this for four years now, and it was attested to by an inspection by the district public health authority and especially the regional chief public health officer.”

Volák resigned only after being urged to do so by minister Čislák, the Sme daily wrote on March 23. The hospital director who had survived several scandals, refused to comment for media on his step.

Tomáš Szalay, analyst and head of the Health Policy Institute, told Sme that Volák’s biggest fault was to ignore problems and let them grow to this extent.

On March 23, another 39 nurses filed their notices in the Žilina hospital, the SITA newswire wrote, including those from emergency and post-surgery wards. They ask for Volák’s deputy for nursing, Margita Porubčanská.

Head of the Union of Nurses and Midwives (OZSaPA) Monika Kavecká specified that the reason for the latest notices is the unsure development of the situation in Žilina hospital, as well as the statement of twenty nurses heading wards, who on March 20 supported Porubčanská and who allegedly had kept lying – also to the public – about the real situation in the medical facility. 

Topic: Health care


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