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Friday 15.11.2019 | Name days: Undīne, Leopolds, Unda
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Saeima speaker apologizes to doctors for making an unreasonable decision

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topical, Saeima, protest, healthcare budget, Ināra Mūrniece, Kārlis Rācenis«On behalf of myself and the Saeima, I want to deeply apologize to healthcare workers for last year’s impossible decisions in regards to wage increase. It is not possible to complete in the current situation. At the same time, we are aware healthcare industry in in dire need for funding, and we are prepared to continue working with the sector to find a solution for the problem in the coming years,» said Saeima speaker Ināra Mūrniece, meeting with representatives of the Day Without Doctor protest on Thursday, 7 November.

Although the Saeima’s vote on the increase of wages for doctors last year had the best intentions, it had not financial backing and turned out too optimistic. This applies to both the economic outlook and state budget options. This was tough lesson for the parliament, said Mūrniece.

At the same time, the Saeima speaker stressed that healthcare sector’s funding remains a priority for the Saeima and the government.

A total of EUR 200 million is outlined for the healthcare industry in the state budget next year. This includes EUR 60 million for the increase of wages for healthcare workers. ‘When forming the budget, we looked to making it balanced and ensuring an increase for other sectors, because it is in our duty to divide available resources in the interest of all society,’ comments Mūrniece.

Chairman of Saeima’s Social and Employment Matters Committee Andris Skride stressed that for the first time in twenty years problems of healthcare industry are so high on the priority list of all officials. The commission will continue working to make sure the industry receives an increase of funding in coming years, as well as to follow proper use of funding.

Read also: Doctors to continue protesting in Latvia with six-day strike

Participants of the protest were represented in the conversation by the chairman of Latvian Trade Union of Health and Social Care Workers Valdis Keris, Latvian Young Doctors Association board chairman Kārlis Rācenis and board member Ieva Glāzere, as well as Latvian Nurses Association board member Evija Bakša-Zveja. Saeima was represented by Budget and Finance Committee chairman Mārtiņš Bondars, Healthcare Minister Ilze Viņķele, Finance Minister Jānis Reirs, Healthcare Ministry’s parliamentary secretary Ilmārs Dūrītis and Finance Ministry’s parliamentary secretary Atis Zakatistovs, notes Saeima’s press-services.

BNN had previously reported that the government planned to allocate additional funds for doctors’ wages by reviewing profit outlooks for Latvian State Forests and Bank of Latvia, as well as putting off the opening of an embassy in Australia. This plan would have secured EUR 18 million. With this amount, the total promised additional funding for doctors’ wages in 2020 would be EUR 60 million.


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