Nurses Protest Against Poor Work Conditions

Total Croatia News

ZAGREB, May 12, 2018 – About a thousand nurses marched through the centre of Zagreb on Saturday on the occasion of International Nurses Day, protesting against low wages and inadequate work conditions.

This year, International Nurses Day was observed under the motto “Nurses – A Voice to Lead – Health Is a Human Right”, and organisers said that 38,000 nurses, who are members of their trade union, were a pillar of the public healthcare system.

Disgruntled nurses demanded that the authorities comply with collective agreements and ensure that their overtime was paid.

In order to express their resentment over their treatment by the authorities, the nurses carried a coffin wrapped in a Croatian flag with a message saying that Croatia “has died aged 27 after a long and difficult fight against fraud, corruption and clientelism, and as a result of the incurable disease of societal cancer caused by greedy politicians.”

Recently, nurses associations have made an appeal to stop their departure abroad, warning that Croatia has a shortage of over 10,000 nurses, who they say are leaving because they are unhappy with their work conditions and the Croatian health sector’s failure to recognise their qualifications.

In Croatia there are over 10,000 nurses with university degrees, some even have doctorates, but Croatia’s health sector does not acknowledge that, the president of the Jedra association Sandra Karabatić said at a conference this week on the occasion of Nurses Week, observed on May 7-12. “Croatia has 449 nurses per 100,000 inhabitants, which is 50% below the EU average,” said Tanja Lupieri of the Croatian Association of Nurses.

The conference heard that, according to Croatian Nurses Chamber data, over the past five years more than 1,800 nurses have requested certificates to go abroad, suspending their licences, of whom 926 have left the country.

Currently 979 nurses are registered with the Croatian Employment Service. Representatives of nurses associations claim that in the Dalmatia region, in the town of Dubrovnik for example, nurses rather work as waitresses than in healthcare.

About 39,000 nurses currently work in Croatia’s health sector, of whom 10,500 have university degrees, including 1,050 master’s degrees in nursing.


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