Press Review

Hospitals are in trouble as an insufficient number of nurses may force some to shut down. Today's ZEMSKE NOVINY reports on the ever more frequent decision of Czech nurses to find better paid jobs abroad, or outside of their field of work. The paper notes that a hospital in Brno had to close down one of its departments as it did not have enough staff. Many nurses, mainly those who have graduated in the past few years, have learnt English or German in order to help them find jobs abroad - mainly in Austria, Germany, and Great Britain.

ZEMSKE NOVINY writes that the three main reason's why the number of nurses is so low are the exhaustive nature of the profession, the university degree requirement, and the low salary which averages at about 12,000 Czech crowns per month before tax, or some 307 U.S. dollars. The reluctance of many to continue a career in nursing is forcing hospitals to employ nurses from Slovakia, Poland, and Ukraine, the paper notes.

And staying with medicine. "The doctor now has to tell his patient the truth," reads the headline in today's LIDOVE NOVINY. It refers to a new law - which still needs to be approved by the president - stating that sick people should have the right to know just how serious their illness really is. With this, the Czech Republic would engage in an international agreement, drawn up by the Council of Europe, which aims to strengthen patient's rights. The paper points out that before the law was proposed, it was up to the doctor to decide whether his patient should know everything about his or her condition and adds that in the past this sort of information was even considered to be for doctors' eyes only.

MLADA FRONTA DNES devotes a whole page to an interview with the new chairman of the ruling Social Democratic Party, Vladimir Spidla. In it Mr. Spidla is questioned about his leftist ideals, his vagueness about possible co-operation with other parties and his relationship with the Czech Prime Minister, Milos Zeman.

Mr. Spidla, in return notes that although the importance he places on the creation of a welfare state clashes with Mr. Zeman's ideas of what the party should aspire to, both agree that it is necessary to first break down the welfare state in order to modernise and further develop it. He also added that he would agree to co-operation with other parties, such as the Four-Party Coalition, if future elections should show this to be advantageous. Mr. Spidla, however, ruled out any co-operation with the Communist party and noted that the opposition Civic Democrats are democratic but not liberal and therefore fail to share his party's views.

When three policemen investigated a rape charge it resulted in a drama with a tragic ending, says today's PRAVO. It reports on Tuesday's incident close to the southern town of Pisek, in which two policemen were killed and one seriously injured after they went to the crime scene and were shot at by the suspect hiding under a table. The paper quotes several senior police officers from the region as well as local politicians who are shocked by the incident.