Eesti in brief - 2011-05-19

  • 2011-05-18

A swathe of candid camera reports revealing shocking treatment of patients in Estonian hospitals on May 16 sparked calls for a massive shake-up, reports AFP. “[Since] independence from the Soviet Union in 1991, people have lacked any objective commission to investigate patients’ claims and medical errors,” Pille Ilves, president of the Estonian Patient Advocacy Association, said. The association has demanded that the government approve the creation of an independent investigation commission, steered by the Estonian police. Over recent weeks, Estonian television has aired a string of reports filmed using hidden cameras revealing abuses such as shackling patients to their beds, leaving them unattended in icy temperatures, threatening them and demanding bribes for treatment. A recent study by Tartu University estimated that at least 1,500 people die each year in the nation of 1.3 million due to medical errors, in part because of the flouting of basic safety rules. Estonia’s center-right government rejects such allegations.

The Estonian labor market is developing, reports LETA. Although the level of unemployment is still very high considering the growth potential of the Estonian economy, the number of the employed has increased markedly year-on-year - by 37,700 people. Job creation took place mostly in the private sector, which has been the primary growth driver owing to growing export volumes, as the Estonian central bank Eesti Pank’s statement says. People were also more interested in active participation in the labor market, which is partly the result of accelerating economic growth. Although the unemployment rate increased quarter-on-quarter, the growth was smaller than usual, Eesti Pank Economist Orsolya Soosaar notes. Enterprises based in Estonia currently include an extra labor force to boost production. However, from the point of view of balanced economic development, labor costs should be kept in line with productivity, as the expert states.

St. Petersburg’s Governor Valentina Matviyenko and Mayor of Tallinn Edgar Savisaar signed on May 15 an agreement on wide-ranging cooperation between the two cities, reports National Broadcasting Online. The agreement covers trade and economy, science and technical, culture and humanitarian spheres. Savisaar thanked the St. Petersburg leadership and Governor Matviyenko for supporting the cooperation. “The experience of St. Petersburg and Tallinn is an example of the possibilities of developing cooperation and good neighborly relations between Estonia and Russia,” he said. Matviyenko said that it is time to improve interstate relations. “I think, and I am quite sure, that the time to throw stones is over. It is time to collect the stones. Neighbors cannot be chosen: God gives them. Since we are neighbors, we are obliged to cooperate. We are obliged to communicate in a good neighborly way,” said Matviyenko. From May 15-17, the traditional “St. Petersburg Meetings” take place in Tallinn.