Two Bratislava university hospital clinics may collapse

But the ministry and the hospital are not panicking.

Kramáre hospitalKramáre hospital (Source: SME)

Doctors and nurses have sent an open letter to MPs and the media saying that the neurosurgery clinic at Kramáre Hospital in Bratislava may cease to operate properly, the Sme daily reported.

"We've even had to postpone surgeries and send patients to other clinics in Slovakia," the clinic staff wrote, as quoted by Sme.

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They complain about working with outdated surgical equipment for years. Furthermore, the clinic lacks nurses.

At the same time, the ophthalmology clinic of the hospital on Antolská Street in Bratislava's borough of Petržalka may lose doctors. They are threatening to leave due to conflicts with the management, Sme reported.

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"We reject the spreading of alarm and efforts to politicise the issue," said Zuzana Eliášová, a spokesperson for the Health Ministry, as quoted by Sme.

One operating table available

The staff at Kramáre has already had to postpone several surgeries since they can use only one of three operating tables. Two tables broke last November.

"Our clinic has got into a surgical equipment emergency, which has not been seen in at least a decade," 23 doctors and nurses wrote in their letter, as quoted by Sme.

Moreover, they need neuronavigation systems used for brain surgeries, having just one, older system that cannot be used for all sorts of surgeries.

"For now (…) we are postponing the surgeries of patients with brain tumors, including children," the staff added, as quoted by Sme.

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Although they have demanded neuronavigation systems from 2017 and reported on the damage of operating tables in December, no public procurement has begun yet.

In addition, the clinic 17 needs nurses, who would assist in brain and spinal cord surgeries. Several doctors have left the clinic for a conflict with the clinic's superintendent.

Read also: Doctors have signed contracts with the state-run insurer Read more 

The ministry and hospital are not panicking

Health Minister Andrea Kalavská (Smer nominee) met with the head of Kramare Hospital on January 14, assuring her that the clinic can provide quality health care, Eliášová said, as reported by Sme.

The clinic is going to borrow an operational table until the public procurement is successfully completed, claimed Eva Kliská, a spokesperson for the University Hospital Bratislava (UNB), which administers the Kramáre Hospital, as reported by the TASR newswire.

It takes some time to sort out what has to be purchased, the ministry said, adding that there is insufficient medical staff due to bad relationships at the clinic.

"The purchase of operating tables has been prolonged because the communication on the side of the clinic has stalled," said Jozef Ráž, a secretary to the chief of staff at the Health Ministry, as quoted by Sme, adding that it may take three months to receive new tables.

Despite problems at the clinic, the Health Ministry is still planning to open another neurosurgery clinic in Bratislava's district of Ružinov.

Read also: Slovak patients unhappy with “hotel services” in hospitals Read more 

Eye doctors may leave the clinic in Petržalka

As for the ophthalmology clinic on Antolská Street, which also belongs to the UNB network, eight of 20 eye doctors are threatening to quit over conflicts with the clinic's superintendent Petr Kolář.

According to the doctors, Kolář makes them do the work of nurses and secretaries even though he does not come to work regularly. In addition, they claimed that he deprives them of training, Sme wrote.

The doctors plan to leave on March 1 if the problem is not resolved. This may cause trouble to the hospital as not all the remaining doctors are fully certified, Sme wrote.

"In case the doctors leave, another five certified doctors will come to work full-time, and the clinic is going to fully operate with the remaining four," Kliská said, as quoted by Sme.

However, some see a problem with the current situation.

"If eight experienced eye doctors quit, you cannot fully replace them since you cannot find such doctors overnight," said Peter Visolajský, head of the Medical Trade Unions, as quoted by Sme.

The Health Ministry is monitoring the situation at the clinic but remains calm.

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