Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Doctors should come to their senses, says minister

The Polish Ministry of Health has criticized doctors from the hospital in Radom, central Poland, who refuse to exceed their new working hours limit agreement, resulting in closed down wards.

Deputy health minister, Krzysztof Grzegorek, said that they will be to blame for losing their jobs.

Grzegorek appealed to doctors to 'come to their senses'. He said that this is the first time in the history of the Polish medical service that doctors left their patients' bedsides.

The head of the National Health Fund said that this year, wards of the hospital in Radom, central Poland, where the doctors did not show up to work today will remain closed. This is the first time that the government has reacted so harshly to protesting doctors.

On Thursday, two wards of the hospital were closed by the government of the province, because the doctors refused to sign the opt-out clauses, which would allow them to do overtime and did not show up at work.

The doctors from the hospital say that they have a right not to sign the clauses and stressed that doctors are often being forced to sign up to working long hours.

The law, they argue, states that doctors can work overtime only of their own free will.

The Radom doctors stress that working 300 or 400 hours a month is a potential threat to patients.

According to the deputy minister, however, doctors should not protest, because they recently received huge pay rises and are earning over 10,000 zloty a month. He also said that although at the moment the government has no funds for more pay increases, the doctors can count on higher pay in future