Monday, March 10, 2008

Crisis in Polish health care continues

Protests in hospitals all over Poland continue.

Twenty trade unions representatives are occupying a hospital in Starachowice, east-central Poland. They are protesting against the privatization of the facility, claiming that no-one from the local government consulted the decision with them.

Head of the local government announced that he wanted to talk to the protesters but they have not received a formal invitation yet.

Meanwhile in Bialystok in the north east, two nurses from the regional hospital, where a sit-in strike began yesterday, have now gone on a hunger strike.

The nurses want higher salaries and are currently demanding a 1000-zloty (roughly 350 euros) net rise till the end of this year.

Hospitals in Radom, east-central Poland, are near paralyzed. The doctors have already worked the number of hours provided by Polish law but did not sighn the so-called opt-out clause, which would enable them to work more. Therefore the doctors will not come to hospitals for duty hours.

The hospitals' directors proposed to pay the doctor a night bonus, which is to encourage them to work longer hours. If the offer is rejected, there will be not enough surgeons, anesthetists and oncologists and some wards will have to be closed.

Hospitals all over the country have seen similar occurrences in recent months in a continuation of disputes over pay levels and working conditions.