Czech Hospitals Spend More on Salaries Than Their Western Counterparts

According to Vlastimil Válek, the Czech Minister of Health, most hospitals in the Czech Republic allocate 60% of their income to salaries, with some, like aftercare, rehabilitation, or psychiatric hospitals, spending up to 80%. This is in stark contrast to Western countries, where the figure is roughly 50%. He shared this information at a convention of the Czech Medical Chamber (ČLK).

“For much less money, patients receive the availability and quality of Western countries. This happens at the expense of the people who work in healthcare,” said Milan Kubek, the President of ČLK. The minimum wage increase, coupled with a change in the labor code, is why some hospital doctors have resigned from voluntary overtime work since December. They demand that the wage be 1.5 to 3 times the average wage depending on the length of practice, thus ranging from 65,000 to 130,000 crowns.

The protesting doctors want to change the labor code to the original value of 416 overtime hours, which was doubled to 832 in October. They also want to allow a 24-hour doctor stay at the workplace, which contradicts the current wording of the labor code. “If we comply with the labor code, there will be a shortage of 5,000 doctors on the Czech market,” said KDU-ČSL deputy Tom Philipp in a discussion.

Year-on-year, the volume of costs from public health insurance is expected to increase by 7.4%, roughly by 34 billion crowns. Nearly 20 billion more is likely to go to inpatient care. Válek has previously promised that 6.8 billion of this will be allocated to increasing the remuneration of healthcare workers. This is explicitly stated in the payment decree, which the ministry uses to distribute money for the coming year.

However, according to Kubek, this may not have a tangible impact on the salaries of specific individuals. “Nothing will force the founder of that hospital actually to reflect it in salaries and wages. There is no other way than binding tariff tables,” he said. Employees in state institutions, such as university hospitals, have salaries according to tariff tables. Other founders include regions, cities, or private institutions. “Even an increase in table wages will not directly affect them,” Válek objected.