Czech Republic braces for mass departures of doctors
Disgruntled Czech hospital doctors on Monday began handing in their resignations in an attempt to force the government to increase their salaries. Some 3,800 of the country’s 16,000 physicians are expected to hand in notices by the end of the week, which is when the hospitals will get a clearer picture of what will happen in March, when the resignations take effect. But Heath Minister Leoš Heger has come up with one idea for the hospitals that might face crisis due to understaffing.
But if neither the government nor the doctors give in, these hospitals will be critically understaffed by March, which is when the resignations will take effect. In that case, Czech Health Minister Leoš Heger said, these hospitals would be transformed into a different type of facility.
“We could establish some type of first aid centres there that would function as places where the patient can be stabilized and prepared for transport. Rather than closing these hospitals down, they could also be transformed to aftercare hospitals or social and health care centres.”
“I’m not sure that people in the Czech Republic will be satisfied with such a strange solution. Frankly speaking, I cannot imagine some regions such as Vysočina, northern Moravia or Zlín will have no emergency care hospitals. There is of course a lack of long-term health care hospitals but I cannot see some many hospitals being transformed into such facilities.”
“We only need three billion crowns to meet the demands of doctors in hospitals. This sum amounts to about one percent of the annual total health care costs in the Czech Republic, and I think that it’s not very clever to go to war with doctors over such a small sum of money.”
For his part, Minister Heger insists it would cost the budget up to six billion crowns should all the demands be met. He also believes it is “impossible” to increase the salaries in one part of the public sector when all the others are suffering the effects of the government’s austerity measures.