In the largest Prague hospitals, about 18 to 38 percent of doctors have quit overtime since December, mostly between one hundred and 300 of them. According to the Section of Young Doctors of the Czech Medical Chamber, 6,000 doctors out of 13,000 working in hospitals have quit overtime in the entire Czech Republic. According to statistics, a total of about 22,000 of them work in hospitals.
This follows from the answers of their spokespersons to journalists’ questions. According to them, management and doctors are still discussing the organization of services in the following month. Care will not be limited, the volume of planned care is usually lower in December, they said. The protesters are demanding amendments to the Labor Code and an increase in the basic wage.
At the Bulovka University Hospital, according to spokeswoman Eva Libigerová, 212 of the 560 doctors there, i.e. about 38 percent, have submitted their resignations so far. “The number of resignations in individual clinics and departments is very individual, however, in some of them it is more than half of the serving doctors,” she said. According to her, the management of the hospital is trying to reach an agreement with the doctors and ensure operations.
According to spokeswoman Marie Heřmánková, 319 of the 1,250 doctors at the General University Hospital resigned due to overtime, which is roughly a quarter. According to her, none of the 40 clinics and institutes are overstaffed. “We are examining all the possibilities of reorganizing the work of doctors at clinics where emergency services take place,” the spokeswoman said.
According to spokeswoman Tereza Romanová, a fifth of doctors have resigned from overtime at the University Hospital of Královské Vinohrady, and according to her, no clinic is concerned with more than half of them. “We are not planning closures or restrictions, we will be able to cover care to the necessary extent,” added Romanová.
According to Jana Krejčí Merxbauerová, the head of the marketing and PR department, Motol University Hospital employs 1,319 doctors, 765 of whom have joined the service. A total of 245 resigned from overtime work, but according to Merxbauer, some of them are not working, but they wanted to express their support for their colleagues.
“December is specific in that most elective procedures are scheduled in the first half of December, so at this point it appears that the problem will be solvable without a drop in care,” she said. From January, hospitals will be able to draw on the overtime fund from the beginning, i.e. 416 hours for those doctors who did not resign from voluntary overtime, and 150 hours for those protesting. “The hospital does not yet expect any decrease even in the first quarter of 2024,” she added.
According to the 2021 annual report, Na Homolce Hospital had 291 full-time doctors. According to spokeswoman Martina Dostálova, 11 of them submitted their resignations from overtime work. At Na Františku Hospital, according to spokeswoman Lucie Krausová, none of the doctors resigned from overtime. Spokespeople for the Institute of Clinical Medicine (IKEM) and the Thomayer Faculty Hospital did not respond to journalists’ questions.
In some hospitals in the Czech Republic, the situation is worse than in Prague, the number of resignations is close to half of the doctors there. For example, at the Hradec Králové University Hospital, 400 of the 900 doctors there revoked their consent to work overtime. About 140 out of 300 doctors resigned at the Jihlava Hospital, 400 doctors work at the regional hospital in Zlín, 280 serve, and almost a hundred refused overtime since December.
The situation is better, for example, in seven regional hospitals in the Ústí Region, where about 160 out of 1,000 doctors could be missing from December, most in Most and Litoměřice. At the Liberec Regional Hospital, 50 out of 520 doctors are protesting. Around ten percent of doctors also resigned from the Karlovy Vary Regional Hospital.
The doctors’ protests were started by a change in the labor code, which doubled the maximum voluntary overtime to 832 hours and effectively made the 24-hour services previously used impossible. The doctors’ representatives negotiated with the Ministries of Labor and Health on changes to the Labor Code, which proposed the return of these changes in the next amendment, but according to them, they are not sufficient. They are asking for a special supplement for 24-hour service and an increase in the basic wage to 1.5 to three times the average wage, i.e. to 65,000 to 130,000 crowns. Minister Vlastimil Válek (TOP 09) promised them a law on the remuneration of health workers and the allocation of 6.8 billion crowns from the public health insurance in 2024 for the remuneration of health workers, but he refused to increase the salary scales.