Photo: Freepik

Almost 5,000 Doctors Have Refused Overtime Work In December

Doctors are saying they have already fulfilled the overtime work limits allowed by law in December. Credit: Freepik.

Prague, Oct 2 (CTK) – Some 4,900 doctors in the Czech Republic have already refused to accept overtime work in December, according to the junior doctors group of the Czech Medical Chamber (CLK), writing on Facebook.

According to the latest data from the Institute of Health Information and Statistics (UZIS) from 2021, there are about 23,150 physicians’ jobs in acute care, primarily in hospitals.

Doctors are protesting against changes to the Labour Code which could mean doctors working up to 832 overtime hours per year. Until now, the Labor Code permitted half of that.

However, the junior doctors’ representatives say doctors already work more than this number of overtime hours in some hospitals.

Health Minister Vlastimil Valek (TOP 09) promised last week to propose a further change to the law returning overtime work to the original number of hours.

Hospitals reach agreements with doctors on voluntary overtime for the whole year. Doctors are now withdrawing from these deals because they say they have already fulfilled the overtime work limits allowed by law in December.

The doctors warned earlier that the healthcare sector may be short of physicians for up to 24,000 duty shifts in December. They have declared that acute patient care will not be threatened, but planned treatments may be reduced.

The junior doctors previously said voluntary overtime work was enforced in some workplaces, and there were also problems with refusal of overtime hours.

“We have information from many hospitals about the improper practice of refusing to accept the withdrawal of the agreement, demanding the termination of the entire employment and more,” the group said.

The doctors are protesting to demand changes to the Labour Code and remuneration that is high enough for basic working hours. According to previous information, overtime and standby duty account for about half of a doctor’s monthly income.

According to the Czech Statistical Office, the average gross salary of a doctor in the Czech Republic in 2021 was CZK 83,808, while the national average gross pay was CZK 37,839.

“The current situation is unsatisfactory. We must not be satisfied with some ‘cosmetic changes’ to the already ignored legislation. We demand a Labour Code that can be observed and subsequently controlled. We demand adequate remuneration for work during basic working hours and changes in the postgraduate education of doctors,” the representatives of junior doctors concluded.

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