Czech Doctors’ Wage Increase Stops Health Care Crisis
The Czech Republic has been undergoing radical changes in its healthcare system. It’s after doctors and unions protested over low wages and excessive working hours.
The Czech Medical Chamber and the doctors’ trade unions appealed for hospital physicians to find work elsewhere if they did not get a raise by the end of the year.
Czech doctors can receive salaries 4-5 times higher than they do at home when working in Europe, causing hundreds of doctors yearly to move abroad to work.
As a result, Czech hospitals have been suffering long-term staff shortages and physicians are chronically overworked.
After the appeal, the physicians handed in their notices en masse.
By the end of December 2010, out of a total of 16,000 doctors who work in Czech hospitals, more than 3,800 doctors were ready to quit their jobs.
The resignations - which would have caused some hospital wards and clinics to close - forced the government to make reforms.
The doctors demanded a wage increase of 1.5 to 3 times the average national salary, depending on qualifications and expertise.
But the government and doctors have now agreed on a halfway solution.
The doctors’ salaries will be increased by 15 percent each year - until eventually meeting the doctors’ requirements in 2013.
Chairman of the Doctors’ Trade Union, Martin Engel says their efforts for reform have been a success.
[Martin Engel, Chairman, Doctors’ Trade Union]:
“I think that by signing the memorandum we have become an important partner for the Ministry of Health and we are ready to fulfill a given role. We have successfully enforced our demands and put it on paper after a 15-year effort. It includes increasing salaries from 1.5 to 3 times the amount, to meet European levels. We disputed a long-term guarantee, but finally came to the conclusion that we are the best guarantee. And if it becomes necessary to call for further action, I am confident we will succeed.”
Czech doctors are now looking forward to higher monthly salaries and better work conditions.
NTD news, Prague, Czech Republic.