Lithuanian healthcare workers demand higher salaries
"Essential changes must be initiated in order to ensure financing of healthcare system and securing quality services to our patients which should become a priority state's task," medical workers said in a statement which was announced during a press conference.
Members of the Movement of Medical Staff initiated the signing of the National Agreement on Sustainability of Lithuanian Healthcare System which would come into effect as of 2018.
"Workloads of healthcare workers, patients' right to receive certain doctor's time frame and wage policies must be understandably and clearly declared in the agreement. The healthcare workers' right to be fairly paid must be secured in the document," the movement's statement read.
According to Urte Builyte, a doctor and one of the members of the movement, low wages in the sector of medical services illustrate inactivity of the whole healthcare system in Lithuania. Emigration of workers remains one of the central issues, she added.
"Every working person expects to have social guarantees, decent working conditions and future prospects. However, what kind of future I can expect if my salary is nearly as country's average wage," Builyte was quoted as saying by local media.
Currently monthly average salary after taxes in Lithuania amounts to 659 euros.
Vytautas Kasiulevicius, a family doctor, noted that those Lithuanian medical workers who do not choose emigration, tend to work in a private sector as there are wide differences between wages in governmental and private medical institutions.
Members of the movement invited Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite, Speaker of the Parliament Viktoras Pranckietis and Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis to support the national agreement's initiative.
According to a spokesperson of Skvernelis, the head of government agreed that wages of healthcare workers are too low in Lithuania and should be increased "within the budgetary possibilities", local website vz.lt reported.
As data from the Ministry of Health show, in 2016 average monthly doctors' gross (before taxes) wage in Lithuania amounted to 1,368 euros, that of nurses was 689 euros.
In the first half of 2017 it increased to 1,500 euros for doctors and 7,52 euros for nurses. ■