They spoke at a press conference held in the Nova Gorica General Hospital, where staffing levels have fallen to half of what is required, according to the Medical Chamber.
The reported numbers, according to which Slovenia lacks 8000 caregivers, while the hospital in Nova Gorica lacks 280, are considerably exaggerated, says Klemen Šuligoj, a representative of the Florence Pergam Labor Union. However, it is true that the numbers are to low. Over the past year, 30 nurses, mostly licensed practical nurses, have left the hospital in Nova Gorica.
Most problems have occurred in internal medicine wards, in the surgical department, and in both intensive therapy wards; that's according to Klara Bavčar, the Vice President of Nursing Care. "We need new employees. We have to fill 33 practicing nurse positions and 12 registered nurse positions. We are replacing the people who leave us very slowly, with considerable delays." Bavčar adds that the number of new hires has exceeded the number of departures, but the practicing nurse positions in the wards have gone unfilled.
The are no responses to job postings – and this is a nationwide problem. The practicing nurse position has been undervalued. Compared to registered nurses, practicing nurse can receive 40 percent lower wages, says Klemen Markeš of the Professional Nurses and Midwives Association of Slovenia. The work experience of practicing nurses should be better recognized and rewarded, he says.
If the issue, which first arose in 2008, is not addressed, Slovenian healthcare institutions will need to find caregivers abroad, and patients are already feeling some of the effects, adds Markeš.