Family doctors continue limited strike

The board of the Latvian Association of Family Physicians on October 26 decided to continue a limited strike, LETA learned from the association.

The association’s board today discussed the Health Ministry’s response on the association’s proposal on collective agreement with family physicians. The association’s board decided that the Health Ministry has not properly responded to the proposal.

Family physicians decided to request an accurate response to the proposal from the Health Ministry and the Cabinet of Ministers whether the ministry agrees to sign a collective agreement with family physicians. The association will expect the response until November 6.

The association’s board also revised the Health Ministry’s proposal to sign a memorandum of cooperation. The board came to a conclusion that the association already signed a similar memorandum on May 26, 2005, and this cooperation continues for 12 years, therefore there is no need to sign a new memorandum.

Thus, family physicians will continue the "slow" strike.

As reported, the Health Ministry has proposed to sign a memorandum of cooperation with the Latvian Association of Family Physicians. The memorandum would provide for engagement of the association in elaboration of legislation, ensuring protection of their interests. Similar memorandums have been signed with other organizations of the health care sector.

The family physicians went on strike on July 3, suspending the provision of government-funded health care services. 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% 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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