Press Review

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A future shortage of Czech doctors, MPs knowingly approving poor laws and how the Czech Republic is seen through the eyes of tourists, are just some of the items in today's press. Nick Carey has been checking out the dailies, and joins me now with today's Press Review...

Almost all of the Czech papers today feature articles on the shortage of doctors that will apparently hit the Czech Republic in just a few years' time. ZEMSKE NOVINY says that there plenty of doctors to go round at the moment, and indeed the Czechs currently have as many doctors per head as the Germans, and more than many members countries of the EU. The problem is that the majority of these doctors are in the fifties, nearing retirement, and there is even a large number of doctors who are retired and treating patients part-time. Many of these doctors will retire fully from medical practise in the next few years, and according to a new study compiled by the Czech Medical Association, as of 2007, there will be a chronic shortage of doctors. Roughly 800 students graduate from medical faculties every year, but as of 2007, this number will have to increase by more than 60%. Although there are currently more new doctors than available posts, but due to the low salaries of Czech doctors, the better students seek higher paid posts, either as doctors abroad, or in pharmaceutical companies in the Czech Republic. The country's medical faculties say they need larger grants from the Education Ministry to be able to take on new students, but they do not know if they will get it. The simplest way, though, concludes ZEMSKE NOVINY, to get more students to study medicine, is pay Czech doctors more.

Czech MPs knowingly approve flawed laws, says CESKE SLOVO today. The lower house of Parliament frequently passes laws, says the paper, that will obviously need to be amended in the future. There are laws that contain elements that contradict previous regulations, and can be so ambiguous that they lead to legal disputes. MPs bear the responsibility for the quality of the laws passed, but despite this they not only approve flawed laws, but make them worse by adding poor amendments in Parliament. This, says CESKE SLOVO, is caused by political pressure within political parties, which forces MPs to vote with their parties, even on poor-quality laws.

LIDOVE NOVINY today looks at how tourists feel about the Czech Republic. While the country's numerous beautiful monuments draw in swarms of tourists, who enrich the Czech Republic by up to four billion dollars a year, the country's services leave a lot to be desired. Czech taxis are famous around the world for their high prices. One business traveller from Tenerife, incidentally the owner of a travel agency, tells the paper how she paid an unbelievable five thousand six hundred Czech crowns, or almost one hundred and fifty dollars for a ride from Prague's airport to the city centre. I should point out for anyone who has not taken this particular taxi ride that, if you travel using a taxi ordered by phone, the actual price should be less than a tenth of that. And of course, says the paper, arguing with taxi drivers over the price is completely useless. Salad lovers, the paper says, are also in for a shock, for a fresh salad, as many tourists have complained, often consists of large quantities of pickled cabbage. The service that accompanies such delights as these is unwilling and unhelpful. And what is more, in many places the prices have gone up dramatically in the recent past, while portion sizes have dropped, and the quality of the food has simply continued to get worse. The paper then continues by describing the amount of pickpockets and thieves that prey on many unwary tourists, and Prague is now unfortunately world famous for this, LIDOVE NOVINY concludes.