Minister: wages may be in­creased for ob­ste­tri­cians and other spe­cial­ists

Baltic News Network - - Front Page -

It is pos­si­ble that wages may soon be in­creased not only for ob­ste­tri­cians, but also hos­pi­tal per­son­nel that pro­vide emer­gency med­i­cal as­sis­tance 24 hours a day, said Health­care Minister Anda Caksa af­ter her meet­ing with Prime Minister Maris Kucin­skis.

Caksa and Kucin­skis agreed on 2 March that ad­di­tional fund­ing to in­crease wages for ob­ste­tri­cians and other med­i­cal per­son­nel that pro­vide emer­gency med­i­cal as­sis­tance 24 hours a day will be taken from the in­dus­try. The gov­ern­ment will later think of ways to com­pen­sate this loss.

Fund­ing will be sought in the health­care bud­get. The cur­rent work plan in­cludes the search for the way to com­pen­sate this loss to the health­care bud­get later.

As noted by Caksa, the fire ‘fire’ has been dealt with. Re­solv­ing the mat­ter of wage bonuses not be­ing paid for night hours would help in­crease wages for ob­ste­tri­cians by ap­prox­i­mately 20%. Fund­ing in­crease for emer­gency med­i­cal as­sis­tance will ap­ply to other spe­cial­ists, in­clud­ing child sur­geons who work nights. Caksa did say, how­ever, that those spe­cial­ists should not expect their wages to in­crease by 20%. She also noted that more ac­cu­rate es­ti­mates are ex­pected next week.

The minister also voiced hope that the mat­ter re­gard­ing the al­lo­ca­tion of ad­di­tional fund­ing will have been set­tled by April. She also re­minded that it is ev­ery hos­pi­tal’s man­age­ment board who are the ones to de­cide on the di­vi­sion of fund­ing. Nev­er­the­less, Health­care Min­istry will rec­om­mend di­vert­ing fund­ing to wages. EUR 10 mil­lion an­nu­ally would be nec­es­sary for the in­crease of wages of per­son­nel of emer­gency med­i­cal as­sis­tance. It is planned to take this fund­ing from the planned bud­get at the end of the year. More than EUR 800,000 could be trans­ferred to Riga Ma­ter­nity Hos­pi­tal, ac­cord­ing to he gov­ern­ment’s re­port.

When asked if it is pos­si­ble to al­lo­cate EUR 150 mil­lion to the health­care sys­tem next year, Kucin­skis said: «Na­tional Coun­cil for Tri­lat­eral Co­op­er­a­tion has ap­proved the con­cept for the tax pol­icy. Dis­cus­sions are cur­rently be­ing held on de­tails of this mat­ter. It is pos­si­ble that 1% health­care tax in­te­gra­tion mat­ter of the next cou­ple of weeks. With­out this in­te­gra­tion we can­not ap­prove the fu­ture progress of the health­care re­form,» said the prime minister.

Caksa ex­plains: «Cur­rently the tar­iff for child­birth does not cover wage bonus of 75% for night shifts. Be­cause of that, health­care in­sti­tu­tions take away fi­nances from other po­si­tions to pay for night hours. This results in in­suf­fi­cient fi­nances to pay for other tar­iffs.» Af­ter the dis­cus­sion with Kucin­skis, Caksa did not want to speak of the pos­si­ble size of fund­ing and where money would be sought – all cal­cu­la­tions will come later, she said.

The minister notes: ‘It is likely money will be searched within the sys­tem at first and in the state later on’. When asked if this means some ar­eas of the health­care sys­tem may expect a de­cline in fund­ing, the minister said it is pri­mar­ily im­por­tant to iso­late pri­or­i­ties. When asked what will hap­pen with ob­ste­tri­cians’ re­quest to double their wages, Caksa noted that she has agreed with spe­cial­ists to in­crease wages by 20%. Larger tar­iff changes will be dis­cussed next year, ac­cord­ing to the gov­ern­ment’s re­port.

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