Not enough healthcare workers for nationwide testing

The state may need to order that all available healthcare workers assist during nationwide testing.

Testing in BardejovTesting in Bardejov (Source: TASR)

Four days before the planned nationwide testing of four million people, the state lacks at least 8,000 healthcare workers and volunteers who would be willing to take the samples.

At least 20,000 healthcare workers are needed on Saturday morning to ensure the sampling points operate properly. As of Monday, October 26, 12,000 healthcare workers have said they are willing to help. In fact, as the state announced that the testing will take place only on Saturday and Sunday (the original plan said it would start on Friday), they would need even more healthcare workers, the Sme daily reported.

“I will help on Saturday, but not on Sunday,” said nurse Miroslava Matištíková, who worked at the sampling point in Tvrdošín last weekend, as quoted by the Sme daily. “I have been in work the whole week and after this testing, I feel that I need some rest,” she added.

Some volunteers may be infectious

In Orava region, some healthcare workers did the sampling only one day; at least one more healthcare worker was needed to do it for the remaining two days.

Orava region and Bardejov district could count on assistance from other regions, including from the military, firefighters, and healthcare workers. Some arrived from Košice and Bratislava. This will not be the situation during the upcoming weekend as testing will take place across Slovakia.

Nationwide testing confirmed for this weekend Read more 

The state should also take into consideration that some of the volunteers who apply won't be unable to help, as they could be infectious: 8 percent of the registered helpers in Orava tested positive during the control testing, healthcare workers included.

PM Igor Matovič said that the nationwide testing will take place with a “strain of all forces”. He called it Plan A. He added that the government also has a Plan B but did not provide more details.

Doctors against work duty

There are two options – either give up the idea to test the nation or order the healthcare workers to participate as part of their work duties, which is allowed during a national emergency.

Nationwide testing - an ambitious plan with an uncertain result Read more 

Health Minister Marek Krajčí mentioned this option indirectly when he said that the solution of Plan B is clear even without stating it.

“The Medical Chamber is fundamentally against the duty for doctors to participate in nationwide testing,” its head Marián Kollár told Sme. They would respect the work duty if they had to stay with patients in hospitals.

The government ordered a work duty for doctors in the spring. This also occurred in 2011, when some doctors went on strike and there was a lack of people to care for the ill.

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