Medical staff salaries inadequate to workload

  • 2012-05-28

RIGA - The salaries of persons in the medical profession are inadequate to their workload and to the investment in their education, Health Minister Ingrida Circene (Unity) admitted in an interview with the Latvian State Television's morning show "Labrit, Latvija!."

Circene pointed out that this has been an ongoing issue for at least 20 years, and that the answers to it should not always be demanded from the government. The Cabinet allocated an additional 10 million lats to health care, but the salaries of medical staff were not raised, minister said.

She emphasized that the state only purchases health care institution services, while hospital boards decide on the distribution of funds. The current funding could allow potential salary increases by revising labor organizing, Circene said, admitting that health care funds are currently insufficient.

The Health Ministry has come up with two proposals to increase the health care sector's funding.

The ministry's concept envisages "to earmark" the so-called health care tax, which would increase funding immediately. Another option, without marking a specific budget payment, would be to increase the funding by 0.1 percent of GDP, from the current 500 million lats to 1 billion lats by 2012, explained Circene.