The cover and editorial from the leading weekly of the Left for the work-week ending Friday, May 10, 2019. Note that the only reason we’re not providing a summary of the editorial from Demokracija or Reporter is that STA didn’t provide on, and – in the interests of balance – we might stop this feature if something from the Right isn’t available in future.
STA, 10 May 2019 - The weekly Mladina rejects in its latest editorial the idea that doctors should work for public health institutions as sole proprietors. It argues that this would only benefit a handful of doctors, who would be able to negotiate good working terms for themselves, while the rest would be pushed into precarious work.
The idea allegedly comes from developed countries, but in reality the role model is Croatia and other Balkan countries, editor-in-chief Grega Repovž says.
According to him, the situation in Croatia now, after this system was introduced, shows how ill-conceived the proposal actually is.
Rather than solving the problems of doctors, the contract work only allowed a handful of doctors, who have good connections, to negotiate not only their pay but also their free time.
As a result, they now work only three days a week, shifting the workload onto the doctors who are still employed in the public sector, as community health centres are only allowed to hire a limited number of doctors on contracts.
In Croatia, another category of doctors emerged because of the new system: those who are hired by the sole proprietors. They are a new category - precarious doctors.
They cannot get a job in the public sector because of financial restrictions there, and cannot become sole proprietors because they have no connections. So the only other option is for them to be hired by their colleagues but for much lower pay.
In Slovenia, journalists went through the same process 25 years ago, when they thought subcontracting would be better because they could put a price on their work and decide on their working hours.
And for 10% of journalists this worked out fine, but the rest were screwed, Repovž says. Now the genie is out of the bottle and there is no way this can be fixed. "It a price of greed."
The Left recently proposed legislative changes to prevent this type of privatisation in healthcare, but the motion was voted down by the parliamentary committee on Wednesday. Only the Left and the Marjan Šarec Party (LMŠ) voted in favour.
But the fiercest opponent turned out to be the Health Ministry. It argued that the article preventing such contract work would also prevent hiring contractors for utility services, dental services, lab services etc.
But this is not true, Repovž says. The allegedly controversial article has been in place since 2017 and health institutes have been hiring contractors for these specific services since the 1990s.
This leads Repož to conclude that Health Minister Aleš Šabeder is not being sincere. He is "actually making a fool out of the prime minister, as he is clearly playing for the opposite team," says Repovž under the title Whose Is Minister Šabeder?
All our posts in this series can be found here