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.