A sixty-year-old pensioner is in hot water after some left-over bird-seed he reportedly threw out in his back-yard sprouted producing a number of fine marihuana plants. A Macaque monkey is safely back in its enclosure at Olomouc zoo after repeatedly slipping out on his own private outings and, what’s to be done about a couple of gay vultures? Find out more in Magazine with Daniela Lazarová.
A new report by the Czech government’s drug monitoring agency shows an increase in the number of long-term users of intravenous drugs and puts young Czechs at the top of the EU ladder in experimenting with or regularly smoking marihuana. Some experts say this is largely due to a lack of prevention measures and a large degree of tolerance towards the use of psychotropic substances.
The Association of Czech and Moravian Hospitals approached on Monday Prime Minister Petr Nečas over funding cuts in 2011. Next year, hospitals in the Czech Republic are set to get 5 percent less funds for emergency care from health insurance companies. This, together with a possible mass exodus of Czech doctors, might put patients’ health and lives at risk, the association said. Representatives of the association are to meet with other Czech health care providers on Tuesday to coordinate further steps.
The head of the Czech Medical Chamber has rejected rationing of healthcare in hospitals in the closing months of the year as apparently funds dry up. Chamber president Milan Kubek delayed operations and longer waiting lists should be rejected as funds were available. He said that health insurers had 18 billion crowns in reserves and it was a political decision whether to use this money or not. He added that the fact that 2 billion crowns more was spent on healthcare in the first 10 months of the year compared with the same period in 2009 was proof that funding could be found. The health minister has indicated that delayed operations are possible if funds and doctors are short.
The Czech health sector is facing serious problems. Around a quarter of hospital doctors have given warning that they will leave to work abroad unless there are given significant wage increases. The Health Ministry says it cannot meet their demands. The crisis from this standoff is looming in the New Year, the deadline given by doctors. But many of them already appear to be preparing to leave.
Health Minister Leoš Heger said on Sunday that he had no fear of a mass exodus of Czech doctors abroad. German and Austrian hospitals last week sought to sign up local health workers at a jobs fair in Prague promising more pay and better conditions. The move comes with around a quarter of Czech hospital doctors having signed a petition stating their desire to work abroad and doctors’ unions calling for pay rises of up to 150 percent. Mr. Heger said smaller hospitals would have to close and staff transferred to larger ones if the exodus took place. Fewer doctors would work longer hours, have less time for patients but get better pay, he added.
Nearly 50 percent of Czechs aged 15 to 18 smoke, and their numbers have been steadily rising, the news agency ČTK reported on Saturday. There are around 250,000 underage smokers in the Czech Republic; nine of out ten smokers take up the habit before they turn 18. An anti-smoking activist, Eva Králíková said five years ago, more boys smoked than girls, whereas now the trend has reversed.
At the present time there are around 120 thousand people with Alzheimer’s disease in the Czech Republic. Health experts say they expect that number to quadruple in the next forty years as the average life expectancy grows and the population ages, making it a serious social and health problem. This week the government asked four Czech ministries to produce a comprehensive, long-term strategy aimed at making life easier both for Alzheimer’s sufferers and their families.
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