“Bare-knuckled negotiating tactics, injustice, amoral behaviour and taking patients hostage in a way that resembles terrorists hijacking an aircraft,” these are some of the ways Finance Minister Igor Matovic (OLaNO) characterised the talks with unionists of the Doctors' Labour Union Association on the doctors' salary hikes in a parliamentary debate on Wednesday. In the end, parliament greenlighted the proposal. After the vote, opposition MP Jana Bitto Ciganikova condemned the Finance Minister's vitriolic personal attacks against the doctors, even though the SaS party factually agrees with Matovic in that the demands were bordering on extortion and that the salary hikes should not be across-the-board but rather reward doctors based on their performance. Opposition's Voice-SD leader Peter Pellegrini praised the fact that additional demands besides the salary hikes have made it into the motion as well. He hopes that the doctors will stay in the system and that hospitals will provide proper health care.
Earlier on Wednesday, the Government and the Doctors’ Labour Union Association signed a memorandum at the Government Office. According to Prime Minister Eduard Heger, the memorandum marks the beginning of new cooperation and a first step towards better health care in Slovakia. Heger stated that the talks with the unionists have sparked a nationwide discussion on the quality of health care services not just on the state's part but also on the part of health personnel.
Meanwhile, almost all doctors in the Bratislava University Hospital have already withdrawn their resignations, hence the hospital will continue operating normally and provide health care to the fullest extent, hospital spokesperson Eva Kliska confirmed to TASR on Wednesday.