Tartu University Hospital refuses to meet ministry's lay-offs request

Tartu University Hospital (Postimees/Scanpix)
12/8/2015 11:53 AM
Category: Health

The Tartu University Hospital Council announced that it will not yield to the plan of the Ministry of Social Affairs to cut its number of staff by 85. Quite the opposite, the expanding hospital is in need of more workers.

In a state-wide attempt to cut administration costs, the Ministry of Justice has asked Tartu University Hospital and the North Estonia Medical Centre (PERH) to lay off 85 and 80 members of staff respectively.

The Tartu University Hospital said on Monday that it will not abide by the ministry's orders. “These do not serve their purpose, for if I understand correctly, the government hopes to cut administration costs, but hospitals are not for administration, they for treating people,” said Raul-Allan Kiivet, member of the hospital council. “Even if we cut staff numbers in the hospital, this won't bring down administrative costs.”

According to Mayor of Tartu and council member Urmas Klaas, the hospital is instead in need of additional staff for its new nursing center. The second stage of an extension to the Maarjamõisa hospital will be opened on Friday.

In 2015, the hospital will get 35,000 square meters of additional floor space, 100 more beds in stationary care unit, and 75 beds for its out-patients.

PERH too has said that it cannot see how it could lay off more than 30 people. The requested 80 people is just 2 percent of all staff but the lay-offs will not touch doctors and nurses. “So of the rest of our staff, every tenth should be made redundant,” PERH chief Tõnis Alliku explained.

According to the ministry, the hospitals could opt for buying in certain services, instead of employing people in-house. “If the hospitals could reduce labor costs, offer services paid for by the national health insurance fund for a little less money and find smarter solutions, that would allow for more services to be bought in,” undersecretary Marika Priske told ERR.

As part of public-sector-wide cuts, the Ministry of Social Affairs has to reduce the number of people working in its juristiction by 235. Other ministries have been subjected to similar cuts.

M. Oll

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