We are in the midst of a medical worker crisis. The nurses will leave and no one will replace them. Pharmacists and diagnostics, in turn, are transparent about the system – representatives of the medical community indicated during the first reading of the Amendment to the Minimum Wage Law in Healthcare.
The government’s bill to amend the minimum wage law in health care was presented to the House of Representatives on Wednesday evening. It states that, as of July 1, 2021, no medical employee or primary activity of a medical entity will be able to earn a base salary lower than the salary stipulated by law. On Thursday, it was dealt with by the Health and Finance Committee in a joint meeting.
The medical community has indicated, first and foremost, that we are dealing with a medical staff crisis. Christina Petuck, president of the National Syndicate of Nurses and Midwives, has indicated that the authorities are trying to divide the medical community. The proposed solutions do not take into account the responsibility, experience, and knowledge of individual healthcare professionals.
“The minister is still deaf to our arguments that the minimum wage should not be based solely on education,” she said. She added that the ministry was conducting “a sham dialogue and imposing a bureaucratic dictatorship.”
The community of nurses and midwives has also indicated that the profession is experiencing a massive decline. They are missing in the wards. The average age of working nurses is increasing, and young women who practice this profession are relatively dying. The average age of death in this profession is 61 years, while women in Poland live an average of 80 years.
“We have a huge nursing crisis, we are a deficit profession. We cannot count on improving the situation. Instead of five nurses, there are one or two on duty,” – explained Zofia Małas, Chair of the Supreme Council of Nurses-Midwives.
Representatives of these professions also indicated that they are included where secretaries, registrars and medical caregivers are listed with an index of 0.73 (without the title of specialist – PAP), without taking anything away from these professions. However, they indicated that they take more responsibility, and that work is causing them to lose health and die faster.
In turn, Maria Auchman, Chair of NSZZ “Solidarno”, stressed that the proposed bill was not new at all, but that the law had been amended twice already in 2017. She indicated that work on the draft currently presented to the House of Representatives began in January, first with the participation of Experts, local governments and all the unions, and then decisions were made within the tripartite health protection team, according to the law. On March 17, an agreement was signed with OPZZ and Solidarity, and the Trade Union Forum, which includes OZZPiP, held a separate vote.
“This law is absolutely necessary and everyone knows about it,” she indicated. I asked the MPs to understand that no one in this law takes anything from anyone. “This is the minimum wage, and we give it an opportunity for those who have not yet received it,” she added.
Representatives of pharmacists and laboratory diagnostics assured that these are few groups, but this does not mean that they should be transparent about the system. And they indicated that until now there has been monologue and not dialogue with these groups.
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