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Ceturtdiena 17.10.2019 | Name days: Karīna, Gaits
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Minister: increase of doctors’ wages is a priority over all other promises

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Healthcare Minister Ilze Viņķele

First it is necessary to increase doctors’ wages. Then it will be possible to tackle all other promises, said Latvian Healthcare Minister Ilze Viņķele during a meeting of the Saeima’s Social and Employment Matters Committee on Wednesday, 14 August.

Viņķele reminded deputies about the promise written in the Healthcare Financing Law to increase wages of doctors by 20% in 2020 and 2021. This measure would require EUR 120 million next year.

The minister told deputies that the promise outlined in the law should exist outside of political parties’ promises.

«Once the promise outlined in the law has been complied with, it will be possible to tackle all other promises,» she said.

The extraordinary meeting of the committee included a number of different officials, specialists, representatives of companies, institutions and organizations, head of Latvia’s Emergency Medical Service Liene Cipule, heads of nine hospitals, as well as representatives of organizations representing doctors and residents. During the meeting experts pointed to the acute shortage of doctors in primary and secondary case, as well as stressed to need to continue increase of wages.

Riga Eastern Clinical University Hospital’s board chairman Imants Paeglītis said although there are many vacant jobs at the hospital, the situation has improved, which in no small thanks to wage increase.

«Doctors and nurses believe changes are coming and wages are increasing. This is why we would rather not see them lose faith,» said the hospital’s head.

P.Stradins Clinical University Hospital Human Resource Office head Undīne Bušmeistere mentioned that improvements are observed, but not as fast as expected. She admits the situation could be worse.

Children’s Clinical University Hospital board chairman Valts Ābols called the recent increase of wages ‘intensive therapy’ for healthcare sector. He nonetheless stressed that ‘a long-term change of diet’ is needed. Ābols stressed that he wants to see a more rapid increase of wages for hospital staff, considering the intensity of work at Latvian hospitals.

Heads of regional hospitals also mentioned the need to increase wages of doctors, adding that more support for those who chose to work in regions is also needed.

According to Cipule, the situation with human resources is the worst at Emergency Medical Service. She admits that additional funding for the increase of wages, as well as bonus pay for working overtime has stabilized the situation. At the same time, the head of the service added – if the amount of human resources is not increased in the next two years, the situation may become critical.

Kārlis Rācenis, board chairman of Latvia’s Young Doctors Association and a board member at Latvian Medical Association, stressed that the wage matter is important to residents. He said

people are waiting for increase of wages, and if there is a shortage of funding it may become harder to retain existing doctors.

Healthcare Ministry’s representative Āris Kasparāns stressed that increase of funding has borne fruit. Nevertheless, efforts should be continued in order for doctors’ wages to reach two average wages in the national economy in 2021.

Kasparāns reported that increase of doctors’ wages by 20% in 2020 will require EUR 120 million. Healthcare Ministry’s plan provides for increasing wages by 20% in 2021 and 5% more in 2022.

After nearly two-hour-long discussions about the situation with human resources, members of the committee agreed to support increase of wages by 20%, as well as monitor compliance with previously given promises next year.


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