Doc­tors hit streets de­mand­ing higher wages

The Myanmar Times - - World -

THOU­SANDS of doc­tors, nurses and hos­pi­tal work­ers marched through cen­tral War­saw de­mand­ing Poland’s right-wing gov­ern­ment spend more on pub­lic health, es­pe­cially to hike no­to­ri­ously low salaries.

“Af­ter six years of stud­ies and a thir­teen-month in­tern­ship, I earn 2200 zloty [US$580] per month,” young doc­tor Bart­lomiej Kolodziejczyk told AFP. “It’s im­pos­si­ble to raise a fam­ily on that.”

Pro­test­ers say that to earn a de­cent salary many physi­cians work up to 80 hours per week, and the long hours lead to ex­haus­tion and pose a health risk to staff and pa­tients.

Pro­test­ers are de­mand­ing that Poland’s pop­ulist Law and Jus­tice (PiS) gov­ern­ment im­me­di­ately hike health spend­ing to 6.8 per­cent of GDP as rec­om­mended by the World Health Or­gan­i­sa­tion. Poland cur­rently spends 4.5pc of GDP on health.

In July, the PiS ad­min­is­tra­tion trig­gered out­rage among health work­ers when it vowed it would meet the WHO tar­get by 2025.

Speak­ing briefly at the rally on Septem­ber 24, PiS Health Min­is­ter Kon­stanty Radzi­will promised to raise spend­ing next year.

Faced with low wages at home, around 10pc of young doc­tors choose to work abroad, mostly in West­ern Europe, ac­cord­ing to Pol­ish me­dia.

An EU mem­ber of 38 mil­lion peo­ple, Poland has one of the low­est doc­tor-to-pa­tient ra­tios in Europe.

Around 6000 health work­ers took part in the demon­stra­tion, ac­cord­ing to War­saw city hall.

Photo: AFP

Pol­ish doc­tors and health pro­fes­sion­als take part in a demon­stra­tion de­mand­ing more fi­nan­cial sup­port for pub­lic health ser­vices.

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