Kiska: Every Nurse That Leaves Abroad a Loss for Slovakia

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From the left: President Andrej Kiska, Nurses and Midwives Chamber Chair Iveta Lazorova and Nurses and Midwives Trade Union head Monika Kavecka (photo by TASR)

Bratislava, February 9 (TASR) – Slovak President Andrej Kiska has been asked by nurses’ unions and chamber on Tuesday to contribute to the resolution of their current situation by his authority, TASR learnt the same day.

Nurses believe that Kiska will be successful as a mediator between them and Cabinet. Kiska didn’t make any comments on the protests’ developments and current situation in hospitals, but stated that every nurse that goes abroad is a loss for Slovakia.

Nurses and Midwives Trade Union head Monika Kavecka doesn’t appreciate the fact that hospitals don’t want to rehire all of those nurses that earlier filed their resignations. Nurses found out that hospitals in Presov and Zilina don’t need all of them back as they already hired some replacements, and the same situation concerns Trnava Hospital.

“I don’t wish to comment either on the development of this protest or on its form,” stated Kiska. He doesn’t think it would do any good. According to Kiska, to quit a job and risk losing it for good and thus losing the income to provide for a family is quite an extreme form of protest.

Prime Minister Robert Fico strongly rejected that his last week’s statements are in contradiction with what the hospitals’ directors are currently doing.

“He clearly stated that nurses can individually negotiate their new contracts with hospitals. He insists that there shouldn’t be any differences in nurses’ salaries. But, of course, hospitals can only hire as many nurses as there are vacant jobs,” said the premier’s spokesperson Beatrice Szaboova.

Kiska said that the health-care system should be a top priority for the next government and parliament. “Without the support of top officials there can’t be any change to the health-care system,” emphasised Kiska. Kavecka said that Kiska gave her assurances that he will try to calm the situation down.

Fico asked nurses on Friday to return to their patients, adding that it would be humane. “If they return, they’ll see remuneration even for the days when they weren’t to work …. as if nothing had happened,” said Fico. Kavecka thinks that hospitals’ directors don’t respect Fico’s statements.

Kavecka pointed to the fact that many of the newly hired nurses haven’t been in the system for years and thus have to renew their knowledge. That implies that they shouldn’t work alone for at least three months. “I don’t held any grudges against the new nurses and we don’t want them to get sacked. But if the hospitals were also to hire the resigned sisters, the personnel norms would’ve been finally met,” added Kavecka.

Kavecka wasn’t able to tell the press under what conditions will around 40 sisters return to the Zilina Hospital. Thirty-three of them signed their contract already on Tuesday, while 130 haven’t settled on anything yet. Around 300 resigned from the hospital in Presov and almost 60 from Trnava Hospital.