Doctors go for broke in standoff with government
Hopes of a compromise solution to the looming crisis in the Czech health sector dimmed on Monday when a meeting between the health minister and trade union leaders ended in deadlock. The health minister accused doctors of paving the road to hell in defense of their narrow, selfish interests, while doctors countered that the ministry was not playing above board.
They claim that sharing out the money would water down salary-hikes to such an extent they would no longer be acceptable. Health Minister Leoš Heger slammed doctors for what he called their downright selfishness.
“The proposal presented to us amounts to an ultimatum and it shamelessly defends the interests of one profession group.”
The proposal put forward by the trade unions includes guarantees that the 2 billion crowns will be used for doctors salaries only –raising them by 8 to 12 thousand crowns a month –and that all doctors who want to withdraw their resignations should be allowed to do so. The head of the Czech Doctors Chamber Milan Kubek says nothing less is acceptable:
These new developments have brought the crisis to a head and worsened relations between doctors and nurses in dozens of state hospitals. Czech nurses, who are chronically underpaid, also want a piece of the cake, but if there is no deal the mass exodus of doctors could result in the closure of some hospitals and leave them out of a job. For their part, having taken things this far, doctors are going for broke in a battle of wills that threatens to end in the biggest health crisis the country has ever seen.