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Exploitation of healthcare workers in Belarus

«Most of Belarusian doctors are subjected to increased workload and forced overtime, which are directly related to low satisfaction with working conditions» - with the participation of the independent trade union of doctors “Panaceya” and ByMedSol, a sociological study was conducted in Belarus on the state of the medical sphere.

Exploitation of healthcare workers in Belarus

At the end of 2021, the Decision of the Ministry of Health of the Republic of Belarus No. 113 of October 22, 2021, legally increased the maximum permissible limit for the participation of medical personnel in work exceeding normative working hours. In 2021-2022 it was possible to work for the main activity not 900, but up to 1800 hours per year beyond the norm.

Despite the fact that the official cause is a pandemic, the health care system is in crisis.

Blacklists, arrests, repressions, the removal of the best specialists from the health service for ideological reasons, the emigration of doctors - all these factors are shaking the already unstable health system.

The acute shortage of personnel, with low wages and many overtime hours, significantly reduces the quality of medical care. It also lowers the level of training and professionalism of the staff themselves.

The absence of independent unions gives the state carte blanche to exploit health care workers. The state is the main employer in this sector.

Massive and systematic violations of rights are part of a deliberate state policy.

It has its origins in the inherited Soviet idea of the “selfless work of doctors,” which is so deeply rooted in the collective consciousness. At the legislative level, this policy is regulated and controlled by the main authorities: The Ministry of Labour and the Ministry of Health. At the local level, this system is supported by the management of medical institutions and the corporate culture and ethics imposed from above.

Healthcare workers are at risk for a number of reasons:

1. Pressure from management;

2. Environmental pressure;

3. Demonstrative punishments;

4. State propaganda;

5. Devaluation and humiliation of employees;

6. Non-transparent methods of salary calculation;

7. Financial penalties;

8. Total legal uncertainty;

9. Lack of independent trade unions.

In the spring of 2023, at the initiative of the trade union branch organization of health care workers “Panaceya” of the Belarusian Free Trade Union, a study was conducted on the exploitation of the work of doctors in Belarus. Thanks to the participation of independent experts and sociologists, as well as the support of the Medical Solidarity Fund, it was possible to obtain the most up-to-date data in this sector.

You can read the results of the study at the link below:

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