Plzeň doubles weekend rates to attract doctors to emergency healthcare black spot

Фото: Филип Яндоурек, Чешское радио

Eight hundred crowns per hour is being offered by the region of Plzeň to surgeons willing to work weekends at emergency rooms in the area of Tachov. The local hospital closed more than a decade ago. But the offered funds – amounting to 16,000 per a single weekend – are apparently not enough. Anyone who suffers injury in the area of Tachov at the weekend has to drive at least 60 kilometres to the nearest facility to get help.

Illustrative photo: Filip Jandourek
Tachov is the broadest area in the Czech Republic not offering locals acute hospital care, a situation the region of Plzeň is hoping to change. The region wants to pay doctors willing to work after 3 PM weekdays or at weekends in the area roughly double the regular rate – but so far the offer has failed. Either the money is not attractive enough or doctors employed in the region lack the time to take additional offers. As a result, those who suffer injuries requiring emergency help have to drive to Plzeň, at least 60 kilometres away.

Last year, the region offered 2.6 million crowns per year to create an emergency facility but it was deemed not enough, and – according to Czech TV – generated zero interest.

This year, Plzeň sweetened the deal, doubling the offer. It is not yet clear whether this offer will fare any better. According to locals, doctors employed in the region already have enough work on their hands. And it believed that part of the problem is the drain of skilled doctors and hospital staff across the border to nearby Germany where they can earn around three times more.

So a private clinic said to be considering the possibility and setting up an emergency facility may ultimately drop the idea: in any case, at least six doctors are needed. Josef Švec is the head surgical physician at the clinic in Planá:

“From local doctors and surgeons I know only of one who would be willing to work in the facility [and that is not enough].”

Dan Romportl is the head of the same private facility:

Photo: Jacque Stengel / freeimages
“The problem is not the finances but simply a lack of free time on the part of doctors.”

The situation in nearby Marianské Lázně isn’t any better: the hospital there, its services reduced, also lacks an emergency surgery. That means that after hours and at the weekends, a lengthy journey to Plzeň is likewise required. And Marianské Lazně and Tachov aren’t alone: other parts of the country, namely border areas, are said to suffer similar problems.