Five Estonian healthcare workers' organizations announced on Monday that they are not ready to sign the good will cooperation agreement aimed to guarantee sustainability of the healthcare system, claiming that it is vague and the social minister doesn’t want to take responsibility, LETA/Postimees writes.
The cooperation agreement, preparations for which started in October last year during the doctors and nurses’ strike, was convened by the social ministry and was chaired by the then social minister Hanno Pevkur. 22 healthcare organizations were invited behind the negotiations table, representatives of employees, employers, patients and state institutions.
After five meetings, a nine-page agreement was written up, that lists dozens of specific tasks with implementation deadlines that should make the system clearer for patients and healthcare workers.
Doctors Union secretary general Katrin Rehemaa said now that they submitted a number of proposals together with Healthcare Workers Vocational Union that did not reach the agreement or the wording of which was changed considerably.
The main criticism of the medical workers who refuse to sign the agreement is that the document doesn't list, as the aim of increasing healthcare financing, that it would increase to the 2010 average EU level by 2020 in Estonia.
Social minister Taavi Rõivas said that this would mean that there should be 1.5 times more money in healthcare than there is now. "This is complicated and impossible to achieve and as the social minister I cannot sign a financial obligation that exceeds the budgetary year sum," he said.
Rõivas said that a half of the organisations that compiled the agreement have said they would sign it. "Irrespective of how many signatures there will be on the agreement, work will be started on what is written in it," said the minister.