Prague, Dec 19 (CTK) – Small towns in the Czech countryside have problems finding doctors, especially general practitioners, although they are trying to attract them, daily Lidove noviny (LN) writes yesterday.
The Czech Doctors’ Chamber (CLK), the health insurance companies, and regional and local politicians take different positions on the issue, the paper writes.
CLK head Milan Kubek says quality health care should be available for everybody, but this will not be possible any more, unless doctors’ pay rises and the education of young doctors is simplified.
The Czech association of health insurance companies argues that there are enough doctors in the country: 37 per 10,000 inhabitants, which is the sixth best result in the European Union.
Lubos Hesik, mayor of Suchdol and Luznici, south Bohemia, said one of the three general practitioners working in Suchdol retired last year and no replacement has been found for the small town since then.
Hesik said the country’s largest health VZP Insurance Company did not consider this situation critical, unfortunately.
“They told us that two thousand patients per doctor is not a critical level and that the situation is even worse in some other places,” Hesik told the paper.
He said he addressed the directors of two nearest hospitals who promised him that one of their young doctors could be visiting Suchdol two days a week. But the hospitals finally said they faced a lack of staff and were unable to send any doctor, Hesik said.
Hesik dismissed the view that more finances were the key to the problem.
He said most mayors were ready to subsidise a general practitioner in some way. “Almost every municipality would do their utmost for a new doctor, but the doctors do not want to work in the countryside,” he said.
The regional office declared a public competition for a general practitioner in Suchdol in 2015 and the town could have been granted a subsidy of up to 500,000 crowns for the job, but nobody applied for it, Hesik said.
Roman Houska, head of the GP’s association in Usti Region, north Bohemia, said the situation was bad in the region.
It was not reasonable for a GP to have 2500 patients, he said.
People have problems finding a GP since doctors do not want more patients also because it is not profitable for them, Houska said.
“Young doctors do not want to work in the regions. Municipalities would like a young doctor to arrive and stay for 30 years. But doctors cannot earn their living in small municipalities, especially if they had a family or paid a mortgage,” Houska told LN.
The CLK had 52,218 members in 2015, or 600 more than in 2013, the paper writes.
However, CLK spokesman Michal Sojka said this figure also included retired doctors and doctors who work abroad and these two groups have been growing. About 42,000 of the doctors do their job in the Czech Republic, he said.
Health insurance companies consider it a challenge that many doctors are likely to retire in the next few years. Unless more people start studying medicine, the exchange of generation cannot be smooth, the companies’ association said, adding that it takes at least 12 years for a person to complete studies and become a doctor.
Health Ministry spokeswoman Stepanka Cechova said the salaries of medical personnel would keep rising and medical faculties would be able to have more students in order to have enough young doctors and stop the trend of the ageing of doctors.