Salaries like in the Czech Republic? It won’t convince us. We should not return to Slovakia, say Slovak doctors in the Czech Republic
Lukáš and Michal went to the Czech Republic after studying medicine. They explain that higher salaries are not the reasons why they want to stay abroad. In Slovakia, they are also bothered by the state of society.
Slovakian Michal Skurák specializes in infectious disease medicine and left for the Czech Republic immediately after finishing his studies three years ago.
When he visited the hospital where he works before finishing his studies, he was pleasantly surprised. He liked the conditions in which the health workers work.
He is in contact with classmates from Slovakia and I can confirm that in the Czech Republic they have much less overtime than here.
“The conditions in my hospital are definitely better than the ones I heard about in Slovakia. Specialized education is provided here, so that the doctor can acquire a specialization, which we probably similarly support in participation in congresses, learning in imaging methods such as ultrasound and,” says Michal.
After his studies, Lukáš also went to the Czech Republic. She graduated from medicine five years ago. My wife, also a medical graduate, and I were looking for a job in Slovakia. He wanted a place in orthopedics, she in the internal department. They found two hospitals that had these positions available. From one they did not call at all, from the other after a year.
“We looked at advertisements in Moravia as well. We were looking for smaller district hospitals. We also found two and they answered us within two days at the most. We completed two interviews and were satisfied in both cases. The hospitals looked above standard. They were not disintegrated “chajdy”. I can’t even imagine that I should go to a hospital on Mickiewiczova for treatment. We had a good impression in the Czech Republic and decided to go there,” recalls Lukáš about his beginnings.
Attestation takes longer in Slovakia than in the Czech Republic
The medical trade union wrote down eight demands in which, in addition to higher salaries, they insisted, for example, on improving the education of young doctors or more adequate payments in the health insurance company.
The government negotiated with doctors for several weeks and only five days before the exchange of notice periods of 2,100 doctors in hospitals across Slovakia, an agreement was reached.
One of the doctors’ arguments for a salary increase was that Slovak doctors who study medicine go abroad for better conditions. Most of them go to the Czech Republic.
MP Jana Bittó Cigániková, however, does not think that higher salaries will stop the outflow of doctors to the Czech Republic. He says that the Czech government is closely monitoring the situation in Slovakia. When the salaries of Slovak doctors increase, you will react immediately. They need the Czech healthcare system to be for the Slovaks, so that it is.
According to her, the solution is only systemic changes, and those for which it is worthwhile for Slovaks to stay home after school.
One of the system changes is also the method of obtaining certifications. Without it, he cannot be a specialist in a given field. Lukáš sees big differences between the Czech and Slovak systems.
“According to what I know about the field of orthopedics, it is much easier in the Czech Republic. There is a simpler bureaucracy here, obtaining internships and recognizing internships, and the whole process is shorter than in Slovakia. As for orthopedics or internal medicine, obtaining accreditation in Slovakia is catastrophic,” he explains.
“I have a colleague who is an orthopedist in Slovakia and he works in a hospital. His colleague is 40 years old and is only now going to be certified, because they have an unwritten rule that the clinic can only take two doctors for certification per year. My colleague, who is the same age as me, won’t be able to get the certification anytime soon,” stated Lukáš.
I feel sick at the thought of being treated at Mickiewicz
The young doctor adds that there is also a difference in services. In the Czech Republic, the shortage of doctors is not as acute as in Slovakia, and therefore they do not have to work as much overtime.
“Sometimes there are more critical departments, but the situation is not the same as in Slovakia. What I hear from acquaintances and the media is unbearable,” Lukáš thinks.
The overall mood and equipment of hospitals are other differences that Lukáš names.
“I think it’s better communication in the doctor-patient relationship. Doctors here do not allow themselves as much as Slovak doctors to patients. There is also a lower rate of bribery. The difference is also in the technical and material equipment of hospitals. There is a big difference in how those hospitals look and how the patient feels in them. I remember the hospital on Mickiewiczová Street in Bratislava. The surgery has an eight-bed room, high ceilings, a hundred-year-old unrenovated building. When I have to imagine that I have to be treated there, I am sick and I would rather be treated at home. I haven’t seen this anywhere in the Czech Republic and I probably won’t see it again,” he adds.
We will not return to Slovakia
Pronounced change there is a significant increase in doctors’ salaries. For non-certified doctors, the average of the last wages will be increased by 1.25 to one and a half times it plus 0.015 for each year of experience (maximum of 30 years of experience).
For certified doctors, the coefficient will increase from 2.3 to 2.5 plus 0.025 for each year of practice (maximum 30 years of practice) and from January 1, 2025 it will be 0.03 per year of practice for a certified doctor.
the resulting salaries in some cases already exceed the wages of Czech doctors. Michal Skurák is not planning to return to Slovakia anyway.
it is not only the state of health that helps, but the overall mood and attitude of society.
“I can’t imagine going back to Slovakia. I am part of the LGBTI community and after the terrorist attack in Teplárna and almost no reaction from the politicians, I don’t want to go back. Will I be working for less money than my colleagues in the Czech Republic and at the same time I will be afraid that someone will overcharge me due to the fact that I will have to hold a partner’s hand? Not. Well thank you. Let the last one go out,” stated Michal.
Of the Slovak doctors he has around, only a few of them are considering returning home.
Lukáš also confirms this. According to him, the mood in society in Slovakia is much worse than in the Czech Republic. Even higher salaries will not convince doctors to return.
“I want to get a certification in the Czech Republic and gain more experience here. As a relatively young doctor, I get to know interesting things, so I sell both theoretically and practically. Therefore, I do not plan to return to Slovakia in the near future. When I’m able to get an ambulance in a few years, I might think about it. But it’s not easy in Slovakia even with your own ambulance,” Lukáš thinks.
The doctors were criticized after the announcement. Their statements were said to be on the border with blackmail and it was an immoral step towards patients. However, Michal Skurák thinks that it was the last step they could take. Lukáš also agrees.
“It is immoral in what conditions and spaces Slovak health workers have had to work in for the last 15 years. It keeps getting worse and people are no longer motivated because they can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel. Threats or protests did not help. If you really want to change something for the better, you have to take a decisive step. This was the step. It wasn’t blackmail. They had eight points there and not everything was current,” Lukáš.
Ukrainians can be the solution
So how to increase the number of doctors, when even the current changes may not attract back the masses from abroad? According to Michal Skurák, there is a better market for doctors from the East.
Lukáš is more careful. The door should suit them, but at the same time we should check and insist that we are all barriers and do not have a language version.
It has already arrived in Slovakia many Ukrainian health workers. However, due to the complex bureaucracy, many of them do not work in the healthcare sector. In some cases, it takes years for the Slovak authorities to recognize Ukrainians’ diplomas and experience.
Learn more in the attached report above.