HEALTH Minister Giorgios Pamboridis announced on Friday that state doctors would get a €3m boost for pay rises and allowances aiming to increase productivity in public hospitals and help meet staffing needs.
The money, which will be given in the form of incentives, will cover existing needs as well as those expected to be created following the retirement of doctors, he said.
This is an intermediate solution until the administrative and financial autonomy of hospitals kicks in. The aim, Pamporidis said, is the smooth operation of hospitals, to keep existing staff from walking out, but also to attract new.
“The salaries of doctors, especially of the newly appointed, are not adequate and can be described as low, to say the least,” Pamboridis said.
Pamboridis said that 50 doctors will be hired for next year to reinforce the medical staff of state hospitals. There is already a provision in the budget for the increase by 25 doctors, while 25 more positions will be included after the implementation of hospital autonomy, Pamboridis said.
He added that the incentives also include the upgrade of the pay scale of specialist doctors, but that until autonomy kicks in, a pay increment will be offered to all state doctors. A monthly €1,000 administrative allowance will also be given to the heads of hospital departments, he said.
The pay increments will cost €1.5m, with €400,000 for the allowance and €1.1m for the 25 doctors who will be hired before hospital autonomy kicks in.
The House health committee on Thursday concluded last month’s discussion on the bill rendering state hospitals financially and administratively autonomous, and is set to begin deliberations on a second bill amending some provisions of the original NHS framework with the aim for both bills to be tabled simultaneously and forwarded to the plenum for a vote.
The goal, Pamboridis said, is for a public organisation to be set up by June 2017 which will oversee hospital autonomy.
Doctors, the minister said, will also be allowed ten days paid leave per year for training or educational purposes.
Pamboridis said that his ministry is also pushing for better use of infrastructure in public hospitals in tandem with overtime work with the ultimate goal of reducing patient waiting lists.
In a bid to address the problem, the government responded by unfreezing a limited number of positions, referrals of patients to the private sector, and a road-map for the full implementation of the national health scheme (NHS), a major part of which is the financial and administrative autonomy of state hospitals.
Pamboridis had announced earlier in the year that June 2020 was the final date set for the full implementation of the NHS. By June 2017 a public organisation will be set up which will oversee hospital autonomy, while by June 2019 outpatient care will be introduced.