Hospitals short on nurses

The lack of staff has forces hospitals to close some beds

A staffing shortage for nurses is leading to delays in health care. Some 500 nurses are currently lacking healthcare facilities in Prague. The problem is particularly acute for internal medicine and surgery.

The acute shortage of nurses, as well as orderlies and attendants, is a problem for many hospitals in Prague. “The most painful problem is with nurses, especially in internal and surgical disciplines, where we lack them in the order of many dozens,” Filip Brož of General University Hospital in Prague (VFN) told daily Pražský deník.

Some 100 nurses are missing in Motol, some 70 in Thomayerova nemocnice. The Central Military Hospital (ÚVN) has 20 job openings listed for a general nurse.

Nemocnice Na Bulovce could use up to 100 nurses. Hospital director Jan Kvaček said that if the hospital had more nurses, the number of patients could increase.

One nurse told daily Pražský deník that nursing staff has been dropping at Nemocnice Na Bulovce for a decade. Sometimes she is alone in an entire department and cannot even eat take a lunch break, and often she works six days in a row. She covers so many patients from chronically ill to intoxicated people that she is unfamiliar with their specific cases.

Kvaček said after a meeting with the Prague hospitals, rescue and deputy minister of health that additional funding would allow the hospital to pay nurses better, and attract more staff so the hospital could function at full capacity.

Hospitals try to attract nurses in various ways from rising salaries, bonuses for shifts and other benefits. They are also trying to attract nurses from abroad.

The Czech Republic has the lowest unemployment rate in the European Union, at 2.1 percent in the fourth quarter of 2018. Openings exist in many industries that require skilled labor. Analysts warn that if these jobs go unfilled, the economy may slow down.

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