Ljubljana – The conference of FIDES, the trade union of doctors and dentists, has given the union’s leadership the mandate to apply all forms of industrial pressure to implement the rise in the wage ceiling for doctors enacted in the latest Covid law and extract healthcare from the single public sector wage system.
In a press release after the emergency annual conference, the union says the Covid-19 pandemic laid bare the state of Slovenian healthcare system, which would be ever less public unless a sweeping reform is applied fast.
They say that demands and needs of the public health system are growing faster than the number of available doctors, asserting that at least 1,000 extra doctors are needed to near the European average and an all out effort is needed not only to retain but also to attract new staff.
While Austria has 5.3 doctors per 1,000 residents and Germany has 4.4, Slovenia has only 3.3, which is 15% below the EU average of 3.9%, the release reads.
FIDES argues that public health providers can no longer compete with private providers and providers in countries in the neighbourhood, which are luring away even the “most ardent advocates of public health”.
The union blames politics for the situation for failing to implement the much needed reform and “tell the citizens the plain truth about the future of public healthcare”.
Thus they urge a comprehensive health reform and radical structural change to be applied to financing, organisation and management, a major short- and mid-term challenge they are willing to take part in.
But they believe the first step that must be taken to keep top experts and junior doctors in the system is to put the 10th Covid relief law in practice and complete a new systemic bill on wages in healthcare.
The relief law includes provisions to increase the maximum wage for doctors by six brackets to 63rd by the end of this year.
Trade unions representing some other professions in the public sector have announced they will challenge the increase in the ceiling only for doctors at the Constitutional Court.