Medics protest over healthcare spending

Dozens of medical professionals are taking place in a protest outside the Latvian parliament or Saeima September 29, reports Latvian Radio.

Medics looked on with banners and balloons as speeches were delivered from a small stage erected specially for the occasion and the eldritch figure of the grim reaper hovered at the doors of the Saeima waiting to scythe down any deputies who happened to stick their heads out. 

Medics are unhappy with the level of investment in healthcare, pay and working conditions, claiming the sector is chronically underfunded.

Medicsare calling for increased budget funding for each year of 0.25% of gross domestic product, so that it will reach 4% of GDP by 2020.

"The thesis that there is no money for healthcare because the country has no money is untrue," healthcare workers' union chief Valdis Keris told LTV.

Pay rises promised in 2005 and 2006 had never bene implemented due to the economic crisis that struck soon afterwards and many nurses have to get by on a salary of just €410 per month, Latvian Nurses Association president Dita Raiska told LTV, saying her members had "been patient for many years" but that patience was now exhausted.

The situation for nurses is better in both Estonia and Lithuania, she said.

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