KDH MPs Call on Fico to Fullfil His Pledge on Nurse Re-hirings

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Nurse protests in January (TASR archive)

Presov, February 22 (TASR) – Lawmakers Pavol Zajac and Jan Hudacky (Christian Demcracts/KDH) pointed on Monday to the critical situation prevailing in Jan Adam Reiman Faculty Hospital in Presov, understaffed at the moment by some 170 nurses, TASR learnt on the same day.

Furthermore, the bulk of new hires set to replace the nurses lack the necessary qualification and work experience, said Zajac and Hudacky. The Presov hospital provides health care to almost 800,000 local inhabitants.

Speaking at a press conference in Presov, Zajac called upon Prime Minister Robert Fico to use the authority of his office and take action. “I’d like to call upon Prime Minister Fico to make good on his promise that all nurses who resigned in protests would be allowed to return to their patients’ beds. There’s no need to revisit the budget for this nor pass some special legislation. All that needs to be done is to pick up a telephone, call the Health Minister (Viliam Cislak), who will give instructions to hospital directors. And if hospital managements in general and the Presov hospital director in particular can’t or don’t want to fulfil the public promise of this country’s Prime Minister, I’d like to urge Prime Minister Rober Fico to dismiss such a management,” said Zajac.

The MP reiterated that in Fico’s public promise dated from February 5, the Prime Minister didn’t guarantee the return to hospitals only for some nurses on strike but for all of them. However, the Presov hospital management chose not to hold talks with the nurse and mid-wives labour unions and adopted the tactic of driving a wedge between them instead, said Zajac, who believes that such an approach won’t serve to defuse the situation at the hospital, only poison the mutual relations further with all the negative impacts on working climate.

In its reply, the Government Office’s press department wrote: “We’d like to remind KDH that during the tenure of their nominee Ivan Uhliarik as Health Minister [2010-12], nurse salaries grew by €5 on average, whereas during the Government of Robert Fico it was €190 on average. The Prime Minister respects all nurses, who stayed with their patients or opted to return. Also, he’d like to reiterate his call for the returning nurses to hold individual talks with hospital directors, under the same conditions seen by the nurses who had stayed in the hospitals or came back already.”

Presov hospital spokesperson Renata Cenkova told the media that out of 395 nurses total, 91 nurses withdrew their notices. In the meantime, the hospital re-hired 31 nurses, while hiring 113 new ones. Currently, the hospital still lists 153 nurse vacancies.