“I started the complicated abdomen operation at 15:00 and I operated until 20:00. The operation was not complete, but my shift had finished. Since under new regulations I do not get paid for overtime, I left the operating theatre and gave the rest of the job to my colleague who arrived for his shift. After three more hours the operation was finished,” revealed the Zagreb surgeon, claiming that he is not the only doctor to leave a patient stranded.
“It happens in almost every other surgery, where one doctor will start an operation, only to be finished by another doctor.”
The reason for the unethical revolt, the doctor says, is due to a dispute between the government and the doctors and nurses syndicate over conditions in the new collective contract, which only allows 180 hours of paid overtime. Doctors claim that they do not get paid for overtime, which the Ministry of Health denies. The dispute has been ongoing in Croatia now for months.
“They (doctors) are not to blame, but their employers. Doctors can work up to 16 hours, if they work more than that then they are breaking the law and the collective contract,” said syndicate President Ivica Babić.