If Latvia does not start investing money and brains in medicine, then there will be no one to defend: some will die out, others will leave

RIGA, Aug 15 – Sputnik. After many years of ordeal, individual politicians come to a terrible conclusion for themselves that, it turns out, in Soviet times they also knew how to think and make logical decisions, the Segodnya newspaper writes.

And now the cutting of territories within the framework of the new regional reform painfully resembles the administrative division in the LSSR, and now they will try to solve the problem of the shortage of doctors in the province using Soviet methods.

Everything new is well forgotten

Yes, it is naive to believe that today there is a unique situation in Latvia: in the Soviet period, young doctors, and experienced doctors, were also not at all eager to work in the provinces. How was the problem solved then? The distribution of young specialists upon graduation, the provision of apartments for doctors. We can hardly think of anything else now.

For years, there has been discussion that if a young man studied at a doctor for a state account, plus he was still paid a scholarship, then the state can still pay him a residency, provide 100% guarantees when buying a house on a mortgage, but he must at least three to five years work in a hospital (medical center) in the province. Of course, the number of budget places at medical faculties should be increased.

In addition, local governments can send their successful school graduates to study as a doctor, paying them an additional scholarship and guaranteeing housing after school. But at the same time, future doctors sign an agreement on compulsory practice in a local hospital after graduation.

With experienced doctors the same thing – provide them with a house or a comfortable apartment, pay extra from the local government budget, and you will receive specialists in your hospital.

No need to reinvent the wheel, everything has already been invented and tested before us and not only in Latvia: to solve the acute problem of medical shortages, it is necessary to solve the problem with housing, social guarantees and salaries (surcharges) of residents and experienced doctors. Perhaps it is worthwhile to reduce the time of the residency – from four years to two, as it was in Soviet times.

Foreign Aesculapians will help us?

As for the beloved by politicians, the theme of the return of our compatriots to the country with a medical diploma, then everything is completely simple: provide re-emigrants with quality housing and a decent salary, and someone will return.

It is noteworthy that two years ago, the Kuchinskis government, discussing the issue of facilitating the entry of highly skilled migrant workers into the country, initially included in the list of necessary professions and doctors of all specialties. However, then the doctors were removed from the list of foreign specialists whom we are ready to accept. Reason: for working in Latvia, the doctor needs to obtain a certificate in our country, and for this he must be fluent in the Latvian language.

The circle is closed. But you could do what they do in Germany, Sweden or Norway – to invite a doctor (for example, an anesthesiologist or radiologist who almost does not need to communicate with patients), assign a translator to him (for example, a knowledgeable English and Russian nurse), and let The doctor works and at the same time teaches Latvian for a state account.

All these tools to solve the problem of medical staff shortages could have been used for a long time if the politicians had the wisdom and, as it is now customary to say, political will. But part of the ruling establishment is very busy with only one thing – increasing our defenses. No doubt, we must think about defense, but at the same time understand that if we do not start investing our money and brains in the same medicine, there will be nobody to defend: some will die out, others will leave …

Salary and salary again

At a meeting of the Sejm commission on social affairs on Wednesday, representatives of the country's medical clinics admitted that the situation with doctors has not yet become critical, but could become so if the state abandons plans for further increases in the salaries of doctors.

In addition, it is urgent to resolve the issue of training a sufficient number of young doctors. In turn, the representative of the Emergency Medical Aid Service believes that the situation with a shortage of personnel in the ambulance may become critical in the near future. Therefore, the state should continue to increase salaries and surcharges for overtime.

The chairman of the board of the Children's University Hospital, Valtts Abols, called the recent increase in wages for the Aesculapius “intensive therapy”, but this is not enough – the salaries of doctors must be competitive, otherwise doctors and nurses will simply not be kept in Latvia and especially in state medicine.

While politicians are sitting smartly and discussing the situation, the British recruitment agency sent ALL family doctors in Latvia a proposal to move to work in the UK and receive at least 90 thousand pounds a year. This means that a family doctor from Latvia will be able to receive in the United Kingdom at 7,500 pounds per month (about 8 thousand euros)! Our doctor is good at such money if he earns in four months …