Talks between hospitals and healthcare workers are at an impasse over the proposed pay raise for the next two years.
The Hospitals Association sent its proposals to the Medical Association and other advocacy groups and trade unions for medical workers. Hospital Association chairman Urmas Sule says the Health Insurance Fund's budget has enough money to increase healthcare workers' salaries buy 6.2 percent in 2015 and 6.5 percent in 2016.
"We don't agree to the numbers the association proposed most recently. They're clearly too low and we are definitely expecting a little better offer," said Katrin Rehemaa, head of the Medical Association. "Considering that Estonia is among the last in the EU in health care spending, this shows whether healthcare and medical care are considered important or not."
At those raise levels, doctors' salaries would rise to a minimum of 8.5 euros per hour; nurses, 4.78 euros.
She argued that the salary level determined how many nurses and doctors there were in Estonia in the first place.
"We are worried about the future of healthcare. That is attested to by the proportion of the negotiations devoted to medical education and in-service training."
She said that by law, people could take 30 days of leave from job per year to attend in-service training and for 20 of those days they should still be paid the average wage. "But the Health Insurance Fund only pays for five days," she said.