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Tuesday 18.06.2019 | Name days: Madis, Alberts
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Association declares state of emergency in Latvia’s hospital sector

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Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RULatvian Hospital Association has declared a state of emergency in relation to the ruling of the Supreme Court on limiting overtime work for medical personnel, as confirmed by the association’s chairman Jevgēņijs Kalējs.

In May 2018, the Supreme Court ruled that transition regulations for the Medical Treatment Law that provide bonus pay for extended work hours as non-compliant with the Constitution of the Republic of Latvia and had them abolished, denying medical personnel the ability to work overtime.

Kalējs says changes caused by the Supreme Court’s ruling provide restrictions for extended work hours, which will not only affect wages of doctors and other medical staff but also put at risk the existence of Emergency Medical Service, denying residents 24-hour medical assistance in the event of emergencies.

According to Kalējs, to ensure uninterrupted provision of medical assistance in hospitals, doctors and nurses work 1.5 their normal workload or 20 extra hours every week. However, new changes to the law do not allow extended work time to exceed 13 hours a week starting with 2019. From 2020 onward it is planned to reduce extended work time to 8 hours a week.

Kalējs says even though the new law demands reducing overtime for doctors, this does not mean less work. On top of that, the continued decline of doctors and nurses has been preventing hospitals in Latvia from reducing extended work hours for years.

The association’s leader says doctors and nurses are forced to work extended hours that far exceed normal work hours covered by the law, all to provide better treatment for all residents in Latvia. «One solution having multiple jobs, which is something the law does not prohibit. Hospital workers are patriots and want to work in one place, however. Doctors are prepared to work normal extended hours in their jobs,» said Kalējs.

According to him, it is necessary to add changes to the Labour Law and allow medical personnel pick to work extended hours in a single job.

The association intends to inform the National Council for Trilateral Cooperation of the state of emergency in Latvia’s hospital sector, as well as Healthcare Ministry and Latvian Health and Social Care Workers’ Union.


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