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Health minister asks protesting doctors to work with gov't

PR dla Zagranicy
Victoria Bieniek 13.10.2017 08:30
Poland's Health Minister Konstanty Radziwiłł has asked resident doctors to stop their protest and work with the government amid an ongoing dispute over pay and conditions.
Protesting doctors camp out at a paediatric hospital in Warsaw. Photo: PAP/Paweł Supernak.Protesting doctors camp out at a paediatric hospital in Warsaw. Photo: PAP/Paweł Supernak.

In a heated discussion in parliament on Thursday, Radziwiłł insisted he was open to talks with protesting doctors, who have said they were dissatisfied by meetings with a number of government officials, including Prime Minister Beata Szydło.

The protesting doctors have claimed they earn between PLN 2,200 (EUR 510) and PLN 2,500 after tax every month, and that they work 80-100 hour weeks.

The resident doctors have demanded monthly pay cheques of at least PLN 9,200 gross, double the national average monthly wage, and triple the national average for specialists.

Radziwiłł, who earlier said the doctors' demands were too high, on Thursday said: “Each resident doctor in Poland can expect gradual raises … from January 2018 … until 2021… By the end of 2021, there will not be a resident doctor in Poland earning less than PLN 5,250.”

He added that the government would earmark nearly PLN 1.2 billion in 2018 for resident and intern doctors' salaries.

“That's 40 percent more than the was spent by our predecessors before 2015,” he said.

A group of 20 resident doctors started a hunger strike in the foyer of a paediatric hospital in Warsaw on 2 October.

The hunger strike has been resumed after it was suspended on Wednesday as per Prime Minister Beata Szydło's ultimatum.

The protesting doctors wanted to meet the prime minister but she had said she would only be open to a meeting if doctors called off their hunger strike.

As well as an increase in pay, they have called for more public health care spending, to which Radziwiłł said the government had had already increased expenditure by PLN 8 billion year-on-year to PLN 87 billion in 2017, adding that 2018 would see a further PLN 6 billion spent on health care.

The protesting doctors also said there was a doctor shortage and that medics were going abroad for work and demanded better working conditions, shorter hospital waiting lists, and less red tape. (vb/pk

Source: PAP

tags: doctors, protest
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