published: 31.10.2012, 17:12 | updated: 31.10.2012 17:18:24
Prague - The salaries of doctors and other Czech medical staff along with health insurers' payments for care will not be raised in 2013, according to the respective ministerial directive, Health Minister Leos Heger (TOP 09) told reporters after the government's meeting today.
The Health Ministry has prepared 14 measures with the aim to revitalise the financial situation of the health insurance system. The government took note of them today.
As one of the measures, Heger today again proposed that dental fillings not be covered from health insurance but patients pay for them from their own pockets, with the exception of children, seniors over 65 years, people suffering from certain diseases and those in destitution.
"This measure should bring some 1.5 billion crowns to the system," Heger said.
Moreover, it should make Czechs better care for their teeth, he added.
The opposition Social Democrats (CSSD) are against patients paying for dental fillings. CSSD senator Alena Gajduskova labelled Heger´s plan "dental first aid."
The measure would require a legislative change since the final approved version of the health care reform did not reckon with it.
"I am very sorry that we cannot keep raising the salaries considerably as in the past two years, but the system is really in a certain deficit," Heger said.
He noted that the salaries of other employees in public services were rather decreasing lately.
The directive on health care coverage, which the Health Ministry is preparing, will have a quick positive impact on the health insurance system, Heger said, calling it a restrictive directive.
Health insurance companies will spend on care no more than what they will collect in insurance fees, Heger said.
CSSD deputy chairman Lubomir Zaoralek said Heger should defend people´s interests in relation to the insurers, while, on the contrary, he and the insurers together contribute to the declining quality and accessibility of medical care.
He reproached Heger for having supported the previously proposed unification of VAT rates at 17.5 percent though he must have known that this would make medical care much more expensive.
Heger agreed with the doctors' trade unions on higher salaries of hospital doctors last year under the pressure of their campaign Thanks, We Are Leaving in which some 3800 hospital doctors handed in their notices.
Heger and unions then signed a memorandum under which the base pay for hospital doctors rose by 5000-8000 crowns a month from March, 2011, depending on their education and practice.
Their average gross monthly salary thereby increased from 48,000 to 60,000 crowns.
This year, health personnel's pay was to increase by 10 percent, according to the agreement. However, due to the bad economic situation, it was to be only by 6.25 percent as of January and the salaries were to be raised by another 3.75 percent as from the mid-year if the economic situation improved.
The average monthly gross pay in the country is some 24,600 crowns.
Health care trade unions claim that the salaries were not rising everywhere.
The memorandum says that doctors' monthly salary should rise to 1.5 to three-times the average pay in the country next year.
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