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Czech health care faced a potential crisis after the country’s Medical Chamber called on hospital doctors to quit their jobs unless they got a substantial increase in their wages. With thousands of doctors ready to leave, the government have introduced a major reform in the health system. Our correspondent has more.
The Czech Republic has been undergoing radical changes in its health 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 to move abroad to work every year.
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 the 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.