The Health Ministry has been wanting to adjust salaries in state hospitals for a long time, arguing that it cannot guarantee changes where it does not have any influence. Medical staff representatives have been demanding a change for all hospital and outpatient department workers but the new proposal excludes around a third of nurses, head of the Slovak Nurses and Midwives Chamber Iveta Lazorová told the TASR newswire.
A rise in salaries should have previously only related to medical workers from 39 institutional medical facilities but now it must cover around 120 facilities, including private ones, Health Minister Viliam Čislák said. The government has budgeted for around €55 million to be redistributed among approximately 38,000 workers. The average salary increase will be 16 percent.
This is the second time that the government has attempted to pass the amendment (the first attempt in August failed), but this time it was successful. The bill regulates the salaries of 24 medical professions such as pharmacists, nurses, medical laboratory technicians and orderlies, but it excludes doctors.
The minimum level of the basic salary component concerned has been calculated in line with adjustments to doctors’ salaries and means that, for example, nurses would receive incomes reaching 81 percent of the overall average received by employees in all sectors of the economy two years ago!
However, medical workers are threatening to protest. “The amendment was supposed to refer not only to hospitals, but also outpatient surgeries, spas and social service centres. However, this is not the case,” reads a joint statement by the Slovak Chamber of Nurses and Midwives (SKSaPA), the Slovak Chamber of Medical and Technical Workers, the Slovak Chamber of Physical Therapists, the Slovak Medical and Social Services Trade Unions and the Trade Union of Nurses and Midwives.
Čislák has also failed to deliver on a promise that the bill would not be submitted unless there was an agreement between all stakeholders, of which there is not, according to the medical workers. The associations also expressed their discontent at the equations used for computing the basic component of salaries and are distrustful of the ministry's comments that it would be possible to adjust those in the future.