Slovak Medical Chamber proposed that an expensive nurse in the clinic could be replaced by cheaper medical assistant. Assistant has a high school, so has lower salary as a nurse with the university. Doctors, who are also owners of clinics, would like to choose who to employ. Today's legislation does not allow it. According to the legislation, in the office has to be a nurse. Slovak Medical Chamber lobbies for changes in Decree, which would allow general practitioner to choose who would like to employ in the office. According to Slovak Medical Chamber, instead of nurses could be in the office medical assistant, assistant or physician after graduation.
By 11 July 2012 Constitutional Court suspended the effect of law, which has brought nurses and midwives higher wages since April last year. Almost a year after, in July 2013, the Plenum of the Constitutional Court decided that the law on minimum wage claims of nurses and midwives is not in accordance with the Constitution of the Slovak Republic. Prosecution, inter alia do not like that law positively discriminates nurses in comparison with other health care professionals. General Prosecutor's Office reacted by this step to the initiative of the Slovak Medical Chamber. Activity of doctors, who have challenged the law on raising salaries of nurses and midwives, can turn against them. President of the Association of Hospitals Marian Petko in response to this verdict acknowledged that the same stimulus after this precedent can be given to higher wages of doctors.
Nurses are increasingly demanding higher wages, but so far without success. While the doctors’ salaries have increased twice already and further increase will continue next year, nurses are rewarded as before. The current law, which guaranteed them a wage increasing, was suspended last year by the Constitutional Court. Nurses again plan to solve the wage issue directly with the Minister of Health Zuzana Zvolenská. Slovak Chamber of Nurses and Midwives wants to reach her this week. The Ministry of Health states that nurses’ salaries have been increased last year. In the words of her spokesman, the state hospitals fully respected the requirements of nurses.
From next year will enter into force a new Decree of Ministry of Health on minimum staff, material and technical equipment of health facilities. According to it, in the service will no longer need to be three nurses, but only two, and one can be replaced by a paramedic - rescuer. This change is denied by Slovak Chamber of Nurses and Midwives. Ministry of Health believes that paramedics are as trained as nurses to provide medical care. The chamber is concerned about it and asks, how can be three nurses replaced by two people without reducing staffing norm. However, Ministry argues that these workplaces can have more employees.
Slovak Chamber of Nurses and Midwives refuses to replace nurses in the emergency by rescue workers. According to the proposal of Ministry of Health, during service they may not be three nurses, but only two and one could be replaced by the rescue worker. The resort claims that rescue workers are as trained to provide medical care as nurses. The chamber is uncertain, how can be three nurses replaced by two people and pointing out on reduction of staff norm.
Managements of the hospitals are developing the pressure on doctors to not only sign the approval with overtimes, but also to camouflage the number of it, so they formally do not exceed the limit set by the Labour Code. This is claimed by the Medical Trade Union. According to the Union for example in the Faculty hospital in Nitra there are spread information that chiefs of departments are obligated to negotiate with all doctors, who do not want to sign the services, but also to personally “remind” them of all possibilities resulting from disagreement with services for 2013, as a three-shift operation, non-signing of circulations and zero personal assessment.
Ministry of Health do everything what it can to meet the statutory requirements of nurses. Head of the Ministry Zuzana Zvolenská this way responded to the concerns of nurses that they have been negotiating with Minister from March to no end. Slovak Chamber of Nurses and Midwives together with Trade Union of Nurses and Midwives formulated eight requirements and each one has designated its deadline. They do not exclude the mass deposing, but firstly they want to use other possibilities.
Trade Union of Nurses and Midwives accepted the amendment to the Labour Code, which should enter into force in January next year, with embarrassment. According to them, the amendment on one hand changes several provisions in favour of employees and trade unions, on the other hand, the healthcare professionals will be forced to work even more than ever, what nurses cannot accept. Therefore they turned themselves with an open letter to President Ivan Gašparovič and asked him to turn the proposal of the amendment to the Labour Code to Parliament for renegotiation.
Nurses came out to Minister of Health Zuzana Zvolenská with new requirements. They do not exclude, that if these requirements will not be met, they will launch the strike activities. At the head of the list is a request for a legal standard, which will replace the stopped act on increasing of their salaries. Nurses, in addition to the solution of wage issue, want from the Minister to solve also the distribution of the duties, as some hospitals avoided the increasing of wages by shifting nurses to the position of administrative assistant.
Representatives of trade unions of doctors and nurses have agreed to work together and announced also the stronger negotiations. According to the head of Medical Trade Union, Peter Visolajský, both organizations have certain problems. Therefore, they have decided to solve it together and together will hold the more penetrative dialogue with politicians. Whether this means also common coercive actions in the future, he did not say.