Doctors call off industrial action... for now

The Latvian Association of Family Physicians has decided to end a work to rule that began in July this year and has made new demands to the Health Ministry, warning that they may resume their action if the demands are not met, reported LETA December 1.

The president of the association, Sarmite Veide, said that the association members at a meeting on December 1 had voted in favor of the proposal to end the action with an option to resume their work to rule in 2018, if the government did not comply with demands.

Most of the demands concern the use of the new e-health system that the family physicians consider slow and cumbersome. The association will put together a list of technical flaws in the e-health system and send it to the Health Ministry and the National Health Service.

The family physicians also insist that the National Health Service should coordinate with the association the terms of the agreements on provision of primary health care services in 2018 to make sure that legitimate rights and interests of family physicians are safeguarded in those agreements.

As reported, family physicians went on strike on July 3, suspending the provision of government-funded health care services beyond the daily minimum. The strike was joined by 600 family physicians who promised to continue the action until an agreement is reached with the government on meeting their demands, including a 30 percent increase of the capitation money.

Since July 18, the family physicians have continued their strike in a pared down form, providing health care services to no more than 20 patients a day and not providing any preventive services to adult patients.

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