Family doctors continue strike

The Latvian Association of Family Doctors will not sign an agreement that would end the ongoing strike of family doctors (or GPs) as it doesn't, they say, meet their core demands, reported Latvian Radio on July 7.

As the association received an offer from the government there were hopes that a deal would be struck to end the strike action quickly.

However Sarmīte Veide, the head of the GPs association told Latvian Radio on July 7 that the protest will continue as the government has not met their demands as concerns funding.

One of the family doctors’ demands is to raise the capitation pay (the amount doctors are paid per patient they have registered) by 30%, while the Health Ministry is only offering to increase the medics’ salaries with capitation money included.

"Increasing the capitation pay is important so we can sustain our practices and help our patients," Veide told Latvian Radio.

Other demands increase 30% pay rises for nursing assistants for the next three years and a commitment not to force doctors to use the government's troubled e-health system until its utility has been put to the test.

There are also various items on the government's healthcare reform plan to which family doctors object and are demanding be dropped.

The family physicians are also resisting the government’s idea to set up joint practices of family physicians. Sarmite Veide, the head of the Latvian Association of Family Doctors, says that such joint practices would mean late-night and weekend shifts for the medics.

As reported, more than 600 family physicians went on strike this Monday, indefinitely suspending the provision of the government-funded health care services.

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