Hospitals aren’t ready to face the Omicron variant. Many nurses have left

Estimates say that the government has three weeks to prepare.

Entering the Covid ward. Entering the Covid ward. (Source: Sme - Marko Erd)

Many Slovak hospitals are more unprepared than ever just before the next pandemic wave. Experienced doctors who left disillusioned have been replaced by fresh graduates, and dozens of nurses who resigned are yet to be replaced.

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Health Minister Vladimír Lengvarský (OĽaNO) still hasn’t come up with a robust plan for so-called emergency medical facilities, where less serious cases would be taken care of and thereby alleviate some of the pressure on hospitals. Regional hospitals that the Sme daily spoke with claim that they managed to account for the loss of manpower during the second wave of the pandemic.

Related article Health Ministry gears up for Omicron, plans to establish emergency health facilities Read more 

However, the head of the Slovak Chamber of Nurses and Midwives Iveta Lazorová claims that hospitals and the government should stop acting as if it is business as usual.

“We have protested for years and warned of the coming disaster that is now upon us. Yes, we have reasons to be worried,” Lazorová stated.

The senior and most experienced nurses are leaving, as are young and frustrated doctors who are upset with the state of public hospitals.

The Health Ministry added that the healthcare system has had issues with the labour force for a long time now, and these problems also exist abroad. Spokesperson for the ministry, Zuzana Eliášová, has stated that experts are working on a solution.

“Medical staff, including nurses, received a bonus of €350 with their December paycheck, and talks on improving salaries are ongoing,” Eliášová stated.

The state of Slovak hospitals

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