You can also listen to the commentary in the audio version.
When I wrote about eight years ago that Czech university students are significantly different from their colleagues abroad in some aspects, I had no idea that within ten years these differences would have very practical consequences.
Thousands of university students – of which approximately seven hundred are doctors – born in the first half of the nineties preferred a balanced life, reasonably divided between work and personal affairs. They also liked to do good and appreciated working for a larger, stable company. At the time, they were significantly surprised by the fact that only one in nine of them had the desire to become a leader or a real expert in their field. This contrasted sharply with their Western European counterparts and even more so with their Asian peers. The desire to excel was much stronger there than here.
And one more important feature determines the nature of the current Czech healthcare system. It is feminization. We have known for years that approximately 70 percent of medical school graduates are women. I myself have sat for many years in medical school entrance exams, and I have repeatedly seen that nineteen-year-old girls generally appear more mature and mature than their male peers. This lead is subsequently compensated only during university studies. This gives girls a clear advantage over their male counterparts at the age of transition to college.
In the Czech medical environment, both aspects described above now meet. And they concern doctors in their thirties. At this age, it was still quite common in medicine that – seen by the number of hours – one worked the most of a doctor’s entire life. The consequences are completely logical. Compared to previous generations, millennial doctors do not want and will not want to spend their whole lives in a hospital, even at the cost of above-average remuneration (within the Czech Republic). Their priorities in life are simply different and there is nothing unexpected about that.
Twelve years ago, a different generation of doctors fought as part of the Thank you, we are leaving for some of our demands. Their partner – or rather imaginary opponent – was the Minister of Health at the time, Leoš Heger. The negotiations were long, sharp, but in the end the doctors were reassured by the minister’s promises. However, the real and subsequently really implemented government concessions were minimal, and medical incomes rose only later.
It seems to me that today’s young doctors, angry at the system personified by Secretary of War Válk, will probably be a tougher nut to crack for politicians than their predecessors were a dozen years ago. It can be assumed that the political elite will eventually promise them something, but will leave the implementation of the promises to the hospital managers. Those in the big hospitals can no doubt handle it. However, care may be limited in small or medium-sized ones.
If such a crisis would lead to systemic changes in our healthcare system, then God bless it. But I can’t imagine anyone finally starting to cut back on care in places where hospitals are practically within sight of each other. It has been talked about for decades, but no one has yet committed to it.
It is similarly unreasonable that in Prague we can find completely identical clinics at a distance of several kilometers from each other (sometimes even just a few meters within the same premises), while in many places of our country the same care is completely absent. We’ve also known about this problem for decades, but no one has yet done anything meaningful about it. This would require great courage and the support of the entire government.
In the end, it will most likely be about money. The whole negotiation will go in the least efficient direction: how much do you want to serve and not strike? The word strike, by the way, is rarely used in the current protest, but only because it would sound worse to the public than threatening doctors to stop serving. But the principle is the same.