LÉKAŘSKÝ ODBOROVÝ KLUB - SVAZ ČESKÝCH LÉKAŘŮ
Report on the Czech health care situation (October 2010 – April 2011)
Practically all the above mentioned period was filled with the sharp phase of the „Thank you, we are leaving“campaign, which was for the hospital doctors extremely important. At the end of November, we gathered about 4,000 declarations of readiness to quit the job by the end of the year 2010 if the government does not meet our demands (fundamental change in postgraduate medical education, base salary increase - 1.5 to three times the average salary in the country).During the entire period our activity was from the government explained away and we have not received a single offer to solve the situation.
Therefore we were forced to give notices in hospitals by December 31, 2010. Ultimately there were nearly 3900 of them. But until now the actual number of hospital doctors is unclear. Estimates vary from about 12.000 to 18.000. The most important was the high representation of physicians from key sectors (resuscitation, surgery, internal medicine, gynecology, neurology, radiology) - that multiplied our power. In January 2011, instead of receiving an offer for negotiations, we were intimidated, disrespected and most media were running a smear and victimising campaign against us. Part of these activities was an effort to break our unity by individual financial offers in hospitals. My colleagues demonstrated enormous bravery and moral compass - the word “solidarity” was filled to a tee. Another hundreds of our colleagues joined the action with quitting overtime work. Only this increased pressure brought finally success. The first offer to solve the situation we have got from government January 28, 2011. We were improving the conditions little by little and we signed the final wording of Memorandum with the government Feb. 17, 2011.
Confirmed was a fundamental change in postgraduate medical education and base salary increase of about 25% this year, of another 10% for the next year and from 1. January 2013 our salaries should be adequate 1,5 to three times the average pay in the country depending on qualification and the length of practice. But with the 8 – hour overtime per week. This claim, that has been required for about 16 years, appeared for the first time in an official document as the target state. In addition to that the Trade Union of Doctors (LOK) became an important place for comments in relation to the forthcoming reform steps.
Even thought there are occasionally some problems with implementation of the Memorandum, it can be now with hindsight clearly said, that the action was for hospital doctors very successful. It was with no doubt the biggest trade union action in our recent history (after November 1989). I do believe that only we ourselves can be the best guarantors of implementation of the Memorandum.
The current government is riven by enormous internal scandals (corrupt character), so the question is, how the political situation in our country is going to develop.
Prague, April 12, 2011
Dr. Martin Engel - chairman of the Czech Doctors' Trade Union (LOK-SCL)
Report on the Czech health care situation for the autumn FEMS Meeting in Istanbul
Parliamentary elections in late May this year had an unexpected result. Very narrowly won the ČSSD (Czech Social Democratic Party), but the three right-wing parties, the ODS (Civic Democratic Party) and the new TOP 09 (Tradition Responsibility Prosperity) and VV (Public affairs) created a coalition with a clear parliamentary majority of 118 out of 200 votes.
In the spring our organization launched the event "thank you, we're leaving". Our demands are to increase the basic salaries of hospital doctors as is the case in the west of our borders (young doctors 1.5 times and qualified doctors 3 times the average salary in the Czech Republic) and secondly we ask fundamental change in the postgraduate education. If the above mentioned requirements are not met, we are ready to quit collectively our jobs at year´s end.
The government immediately after the establishment declared besides combating corruption drastic measures under the guise of reduction of the public deficit. Individual ministers are falling over each other in the volumes of the proposed cuts with no rational analysis of their impact.
The government has proposed new pay scales for all public sector employees so that everyone receives the lowest grade reduced by 10%. The length of practice will not be taken into the pay account, which has no parallel in the civilized world. Under this proposal, youngest doctors were less by 14% and the oldest of us by 42%, which represents about 500 Euro. The tension is growing. On September 21, 2010 is the demonstration planned.
Our organization, supported by the Czech medical chamber started to counterattack. We hired a reputable PR agency and we have prepared a professional campaign to support our requirements, which will be unveiled to the public at a press conference on September 15th.
The campaign is scheduled to end before Christmas. The most important part of the campaign is the „Road show“ with an appropriately decorated Ambulance, which will within 14 weeks visit about 75 hospitals across the country.
We firmly believe that we get support from the majority of the 16,000 hospital doctors (by now we have the declared support of about 3,000 and this number is still growing) and will successfully accomplish our efforts. Even this arrogant government cannot exist without to ensure providing of the health care service. Please support us in our effort and about the results we will report to the secretariat of FEMS.
Dr. Martin Engel chairman of the Czech Doctors' Trade Union (LOK-SCL)
Dr. Lukas Velev Vice-chairman of the Czech Doctors' Trade Union (LOK-SCL)