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Doctors’ strike continues

By Keti Arjevanidze
Tuesday, March 12
A special meeting was held between the doctors of the Emergency Service Center and Health Ministry’s representatives on March 11, although the strike continues.

Health Minister Davit Sergeenko, Deputy Minister Kakha Sakandelidze, Tbilisi City Hall’s social service head Mamuka Katsarava and Parliamentary Health Committee member Dimitri Khundadze, attended the meeting discussing the doctor’s main demand to dismiss the acting head of the Emergency Service Center and reinstate their positions.

Minister Sergeenko announced the second round of negotiations later. According to him, the Emergency Service Center head was newly appointed and “it is hard to change the administration every month,” Sergeenko said. The minister expressed his readiness to listen to every side, take suitable measurements to solve the issue on time.

One of the attendees, Mamuka Katsarava, said that Chikhradze was appointed in agreement with the Ministry of Health and currently his dismissal is excluded. He expressed confidence towards the Emergency Service administration and “especially towards Kakha Chikhradze, who is professional,” Katsarava remarked.

“Using the right of freedom of speech became the reason of our dismissal,” stated one of the dismissed doctor’s, Levan Pataraia, adding that it was Chikhradze’s personal decision to dismiss the doctor’s. Doctors complained about patients’ improper hospitalization, thus violating the rights of patients.

Pataraia also accused administration in the unreasonable removal jobs, “they cut the contract unilaterally and accused doctors of not fulfilling their duties,” added Pataraia.

Chikhradze replied to the doctors’ accusations, denying all the allegations towards him. According to him, every doctor was dismissed with individual motives and the first four doctors on strike were accused in violating their job obligations. He expressed a wish for the process to be moved in the “legal frameworks.”

Jumber Bolghashvili, head of the referral hospital, was one of those who joined the protesters; according to him, despite the Emergency Service Center, the hospital also has unsolved problems.

“Despite very ill patients, patients are not taken here at all, due to which we face financial problems, if it continues soon the clinic will be shut,” said Bolghashvili, justifying his presence on the protest rally and showing solidarity towards the doctors on strike.