Salaries in the public health system up by 25 pc. When will be doctors allowed to accept gratification?

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After the Government on Monday had lobbied higher wages by 10 percent for the Romanian medical staff, negotiations with the Health Ministry on Tuesday prompted a higher rise of 25 percent.The salary rise will be applied to the doctors, nurses and nursemaids and other medical employees.

The health trade unions announced after leaving the negotiating table that the wages of all employees of the public health system will increase by 25 percent as of October 1st. The Government is to adopt the ordinance next week.

Health trade unions, PM Victor Ponta, Health, Labour and Finance ministers sat at a table at the Gov’t HQs on Tuesday to find solutions to the doctors’ demands for increased salaries.

“We can have a 25 pc rise in the current salary for the entire medical staff as of October 1 this year, based on savings after launching the national health card,“ PM Ponta told a press conference.

“The budgetary impact is around RON 1.7 billion annually,” he continued, adding that the resources for this year are provided by the savings derived from the national health card entry, which mount to around RON 90 million plus other extra savings.

The prime minister underlined a budgetary rectification is needed in this respect in October. Ponta also unveiled that the budget law on 2016 should include a similar 25 pc rise so that doctors’ wages should double as of next year.

Before negotiations, asked if a 25 pc rise would suit them, the deputy vice-president of Sanitas Federation Marius Sepi answered it would be a sustainable increase to start with.

As for the Gov’t decision stipulating that doctors should be considered public servants from now on and thus coming under legal liability for taking attentions from the patients, the premier explained that Justice ministry is working to a new draft law on the doctors’ legal liability that would allow these attentions under three conditions. So, the doctors would be entitled to legally receive extra money from the patients if they do not condition these incomes, if the money are cashed in after the medical action completion and provided the money is declared and taxed.

The  increase decision comes after tens of thousand of doctors threatened with general strike, outraged by a recent court decision which placed them in the category of public servants. Over 21,000 doctors joined an initiative group on Facebook, after the Romanian Supreme Court ruled that doctors are not allowed to receive any kind of attentions anymore from their patients.

Doctors say they do not want bribe, but decent salaries, normal working hours and conditions, as well as the modernization of the health system. Otherwise, they threatened with general strike and thousands of mass resignations.

According to statistics provided by the Health Ministry, over 7,000 doctors have left Romania to work abroad in the last 4 years, the main reasons pointing to low salaries and poor working conditions.

A house physician earns RON 1,600 (less than EUR 400), while an attending physician gets around RON 2,200 (less than EUR 600).

Teachers want higher wages, too

Teachers’ trade unions hailed the Government decision to increase doctors’ salaries but asked that education employees to benefit of the same treatment.

“Spiru Haret” Education Trade Unions Federation warned the recent salary rises granted to certain professional categories had already stirred the discontent among employees of the education system, which could lead to potential protests at the new academic year’s start.

According to the trade unionists, any delay in ensuring a substantial salary rise in the educational system would generate negative effects in the upcoming years, that will hardly find remedies.

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