RIGA - Over 600 family physicians across Latvia are going on strike today by suspending the provision of government-funded services at noon.
Since negotiations between the Health Ministry and the family physicians’ association ended without a deal last week, the medics decided to go ahead with their strike on Monday. The action will continue until an agreement is reached with the government on meeting the medics’ demands.
In the meantime, the family physicians will not be providing government-funded healthcare services to their patients.
More than 600 family physicians have confirmed their participation in the strike.
The National Health Service has posted a special interactive map on its website informing patients on possibilities to receive medical assistance. As of 12 noon today, primary care will be provided at hospitals, health centers, outpatient clinics, as well as other medical institutions. Also, some family physicians who are not joining the strike will continue to accept patients.
One of the family physicians’ demands is to raise the capitation pay by 30 percent, while the Health Ministry only offers to increase the medics’ salary included in the capitation money.
The family physicians also resist the government’s idea to set up joint practices of family physicians. Sarmite Veida, the leader of the Latvian Association of Family Physicians, says that such joint practices would mean late-night and weekend shifts for the medics.