RIGA - In an interview on the LNT television channel this morning, Ombudsman Juris Jansons said that approximately half of the country's young medical specialists leave to work abroad, which is why when dealing with problems associated with the lack of medics in the country ''we must concentrate on keeping residents in Latvia''.
He said that a competitive salary would allow to keep these residents in Latvia. ''If in developed EU countries the minimum wage is EUR 1,500, but here in Latvia our medical specialists do not even earn such a salary, then what are we talking about?,'' he asked rhetorically.
Jansons explained that the state has not been doing so well in attracting residents to the regions as it has hoped, as moving people from place to place is expensive and difficult to manage with a resident salary. ''For example, in Estonia residents earn EUR 2,000 per month. Our residents are not paid adequate salary, and they must somehow earn a living. We must begin with such elementary matters,'' he said.
However, he said that he has observed more activity from the Health Ministry in regards to this situation, and at least some work is being done to improve the situation within the health sector. ''But it is clear that the national healthcare system is in a state of complete crisis at the moment,'' Jansons emphasized.