Medics charter company to provide private services

  • 2005-01-12
  • Staff and wire reports
RIGA - A large group of anesthesiologists have established a private company that will try to sell the medics' services to hospitals on a private basis as a means to circumvent low wages in the country's ailing health care system.

The company, Anesteziologija un Intensiva Terapija, was formed by 69 specialists, though several more are likely to join over the coming days, an Anesthesiology and Intensive Treatment Specialists Association's board member, Valts Rauhvargers, said.

Though not very clear while explaining the underlying principles of the company operations and prices of its services, he did say that its existence did not mean that doctors would quit their hospitals and start working with the firm on a full-time basis. The company has been founded, he stressed, and for right now it was unclear yet if it has to be put to use.

It is possible that by creating the company anesthesiologists hoped to give themselves a trump card while negotiating with the government.

Association head Antonina Sondore, who was not among the founding members of the company, did not rule out that anesthesiologists might charge some 2 lats (2.8 euros) - 3 lats per hour for their services.

She predicted that hospitals would consider buying the services from anesthesiologists since there is already shortage of specialists and medical institutions aren't producing enough to fill the vacancies.

Earlier she said that medics from several key hospitals of the country, such as Gailezers and Pauls Stradins, have expressed a desire to quit working at hospitals and put together a firm that would work with hospitals.

The crisis in Latvia's health care sector aggravated late last year when anesthesiologists, pressing for higher pay, reduced their workload at hospitals to the minimum. The action in part was a success as a wage was agreed with the hospital heads although to a lower level than their initial demands.