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Angered by the Health Ministry’s new way of calculating their wages, doctors in the public health system threaten a strike that could leave thousands of patients unattended.
Gynecology clinic in Skopje | Photo by: build.mk
Macedonian doctors have given the Health Ministry until September 24 to retract a new provision for calculating their wages based on the number of patients they treated over the previous month.
In addition, they want an immediate increase of wages.
If not, they threaten strike action in which only emergency patients will be treated.
“The new methodology is unfair and leaves tremendous space for manipulation,” Dejan Stavric, head of the Independent Trade Union of Medical Clinics, said.
He claimed that this month colleagues who had surpassed the prescribed norm for treated patients were punished with lower wages while others who had treated fewer patients were rewarded.
“We will file lawsuits because many people suffered damages and we will demand the return of their money,” he said.
Talks between the union and the Health Minister, Nikola Todorov, on Wednesday, failed to yield a solution.
Minister Todorov blamed the doctors for undermining the negotiations.
“We were close to a compromise with the union but some circles launched the strike announcement up front. Talks will continue,” Todorov said.
The union, meanwhile, claims that 90 per cent of the medical staff at the Skopje Clinical Centre back the call for strike action. They also say that other clinics and hospitals around the country are joining in.
If a mass strike of doctors does take place, it will be the first in roughly a decade.
According to official data, the lowest salary in the state health system equals about 150 euro, while the average medical practitioner earns about 550 euro a month.
This is markedly above the national average monthly salary, which is around 300 euro a month.
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