Government determined to ride out the storm in the health sector
The revolt of hospital doctors is over. The fact that close to 4,000 of them have handed in their notice over low pay has left the government unfazed and in some cases the authorities say the resignations will work in their favour –by helping them undertake a much-needed overhaul of the network of health care providers.
Crisis planning meetings are taking place around the country in preparation of what many are calling a slimming cure. Smaller hospitals which will not be able to provide acute care will be transformed into rehabilitation centres and institutions for chronically ill patients. Some hospitals are closing down wards, leaving specialized care to the big hospitals. According to the governor of central Bohemia David Rath the crisis may have positive side effects.
“In the end the wave of resignations may actually lead to better financial management in some state hospitals.”
Meanwhile, Health Minister Leoš Heger is clearly determined to ride out the storm. Having refused to raise doctor’s wages he has no plans to meet with trade unions and has already revealed that in the event of serious problems he is prepared to call a state of emergency – forcing doctors to return to work under the threat of a 50,000 crown fine. How high a price patients will have to pay for the upheaval in the health sector remains to be seen.