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PostSubject: Bulgarian hospitals' relay strikes continue   Tue Nov 09, 2010 1:20 pm

[size=55:3ou1r2wc]Sofia echo 9 November 2010

Bulgarian hospitals' relay strikes continue

Hospitals in Bulgaria are continuing with their relay strikes with doctors in the south-eastern city of Stara Zagora scheduled to start their protest action at noon on November 9 2010, Bulgarian media reported.

Doctors in Bulgaria vowed to stage "
one-hour relay protests"
starting on November 1 2010, in protest at deteriorating conditions in hospitals. They have threatened that if there is no positive resolution, and no action is taken, that their strikes will become "

The walk-outs are staged in protest at the "
continued under-funding of Bulgarian hospitals"
. As of September 30 2010, the Dr Stoyan Kirkovich hospital in Stara Zagora, for example, has received 8.146 million leva, or 80 per cent of what it was allocated last year.

Additionally, doctors in the city of Pazardjik, east of Sofia, will also stage a protest on November 9, but patients in the city are assured that in spite of the protest action, hospitals in Pazardjik will be able to handle round the clock emergencies.

Last week, the Ministry of Health wired 20 million leva to hospitals, Health Minister Stefan Konstantinov said in a statement on November 2 2010. This sum is supposed to cover up to 90 per cent institutions' expenses for the period July-September, while another 25 million leva will be made available by the end of the year, the report said.

The delay in making the payment, which triggered the latest round of protests, was caused by cuts to the Health Ministry's budget, the private Bulgarian television channel bTV said.

The money allocated to the Health Ministry was reduced from 706 million leva to 570 million leva in summer 2010, so making it impossible for the Health Ministry to meets its obligations to the respective institutions.

In September, the doctor's union head Dr Tsvetan Raichinov claimed that 455 million leva were missing from the coffers of the National Health Insurance Fund, to which all employed and self-employed Bulgarians are contributing eight per cent of their monthly income.

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