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Healthcare unions want to meet PM over pay demand

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Prague, Aug 18 (CTK) – Czech healthcare unionists want to meet Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka (Social Democrats, CSSD) over their demanded pay raise for hospital staff because the Health Ministry could not promise them such an increase, Czech Doctors’ Union (LOK) head Martin Engel told journalists yesterday.
Engel said he appreciated that Health Minister Svatopluk Nemecek (CSSD) offered a 5-percent increase in the basic pay of hospital doctors and nurses, but the unions demanded a 10-percent increase, which Nemecek could not meet. This is why the unions addressed Sobotka, Engel said.
If the 10-percent increase were approved as of January, an extra seven billion crowns would be needed to cover the salaries next year.
Nemecek yesterday confirmed that the increased insurance payments for children, students and pensioners, covered by the state, would be used for the pay raise. The increased insurance payments should bring 1.8 billion crowns more to the healthcare budget in 2016.
Engel said the insurance payments were increased insufficiently.
The Health Ministry is to gain further about 1.4 billion crowns next year, which could be used for the increased salaries as well.
Engel said hundreds of doctors are leaving abroad and health care is becoming less available in the country.
State-run hospitals raised the basic pay of their medical staff by 5-percent this year. The unions demanded a 10-percent increase already before this. Hospitals run by regions and smaller hospitals increased the salaries only slightly or not at all.
According to official data, the basic monthly pay of a hospital doctor and nurse was 32,450 crowns and 19,680 crowns, respectively. The average monthly pay of a doctor working in a state-run hospital was 62,735 crowns, including overtime work.
($1=24.339 crowns)

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