- Hans Weber
- December 4, 2023
Czech Republic Faces Doctor Strike Threat as Thousands Reject Overtime Work
Approximately 4,900 doctors in the Czech Republic have refused to accept overtime work in December, according to the junior doctors group of the Czech Medical Chamber (CLK). This decision comes in protest of changes to the Labour Code, which could potentially require doctors to work up to 832 overtime hours per year, up from the previous limit of half that amount.
The dispute arises from concerns that doctors are already working more than the new maximum overtime hours in some hospitals. Health Minister Vlastimil Valek has promised to propose a further change to the law to revert overtime work to its original hours in response to the doctors’ protests.
Hospitals typically negotiate voluntary overtime agreements with doctors for the entire year. However, doctors are now withdrawing from these agreements, asserting that they have already fulfilled the legal overtime limits allowed by law in December.
The doctors had previously warned that the healthcare sector may face a shortage of physicians for up to 24,000 duty shifts in December. While they assure that acute patient care will not be jeopardized, planned treatments may be reduced.
The junior doctors have been demanding changes to the Labour Code and higher remuneration for basic working hours. They claim that overtime and standby duties account for approximately half of a doctor’s monthly income.
According to the Czech Statistical Office, the average gross salary of a doctor in the Czech Republic in 2021 was CZK 83,808, while the national average gross pay was CZK 37,839.
The junior doctors’ representatives have emphasized that the current situation is unsatisfactory and called for a Labour Code that can be observed and controlled, as well as adequate remuneration for basic working hours and changes in the postgraduate education of doctors. The situation highlights the ongoing challenges in the Czech healthcare sector and the need for resolution to ensure the well-being of medical professionals and patients.
Article by Prague Forum