Resigning nurses stage march across Žilina

NURSES organised a march from the Faculty Hospital and Polyclinic (FNsP) in Žilina to the city’s St. Mary’s Square on January 27 in an effort to draw attention to the impending exit of 181 nurses from the hospital.

Nurses protest in Žilina Nurses protest in Žilina (Source: TASR)

“The march seeks to highlight the fact that, despite our prodigious efforts, nobody has talked to us,” Labour Union of Nurses and Midwives’ head Monika Kavecká told the TASR newswire. “So we’re leaving. No agreement or offer has been made, so the nurses are simply going to take a break.”

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Read also: Nurses leave hospitals Read more 

An analysis into the letters of resignations of nurses – indicating that the nurses will effectively be gone as of Monday, February 1 – implies, according to Kavecká, that there will be a shortage of operating room nurses, the entire anaesthesiology and resuscitation department will be rendered inoperative and the intensive care unit won't have specialised, critical care nurses. “There are simply not enough of us,” said one of the marching nurses. “We want new nurses to join the health care system in order to ensure care for patients. When we’re gone, there’ll simply be nobody to look after people, and the government is still not taking this on board.”

Hospital spokesperson Viera Jurčiová said that health care will continue to be provided as required after February 1. If need be, hospitals in nearby towns are ready to lend a hand. Aside from the hospital’s 181 nurses who are still planning to leave in a few days, 31 nurses have withdrawn their resignations while another 20 nurses have been hired.

Health Minister Viliam Čislák said on January 26 that 668 nurses country-wide are sticking to their plan to leave. Another 594 of their peers have withdrawn their resignations, while another 161 new nurses have been hired.

Nurses and midwives embarked in November with en masse resignations over their dissatisfaction with a law amending their salaries in late November. This law changed their incomes as of this January – even though Slovak President Andrej Kiska did not sign it. Medical workers claim that this law does not consider their demands, which involve blanket coverage throughout the nursing field in the new pay package rather than more money. 

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