Latvian hospitals, Emergency Medical Service short of more than 1,000 medics, nurses

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Latvian hospitals and Emergency Medical Service are short of more than 1,000 medic, nurses and other health care professionals, according to the information presented at the Saeima social and labor affairs committee meeting today.

Emergency Medical Service head Liene Cipule reported that the service has 587 vacancies or 20 percent of all jobs. 460 of the vacancies are medical professionals, which means that the service is short of 51 brigades.

Cipule said that the Emergency Medical Service is trying to solve its problems in different ways, for example 130 vacancies are filled with medicine students who work cover the post of the second medic in a brigade, and 375 vacancies are filled by medics working overtime. The number of overtime hours reach 62,000 a month.

Riga Austrumi (Eastern) Clinical University Hospital board chairman Imants Paeglitis said that the hospital has 307 vacancies which is about 10 percent of all jobs. In the first six months of this year the hospital paid EUR 1.6 mln for overtime.

Pauls Stradins Clinical University Hospital has 309 vacancies, while Children’s Clinical University Hospital has 155 vacancies. There are similar problems also in most of regional hospitals.

The Saeima social and labor affairs committee lawmakers agreed today to see that the next year’s budget package meets last year’s promise on increasing medics’ wages, and about EUR 120 million are needed for that. The committee lawmakers will also ask Prime Minister Krisjanis Karins (New Unity) to ask the Cross-Institutional Coordination Center to study possibilities to open Latvian job market for medics from other countries.

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