The Confido medical center was again summoned to give explanations – because staff members hastily hired from among refugee medics are paid less than their Estonian colleagues. The first case concerned the company’s decision to vaccinate everybody against corona.
Kadi Lambot, the manager of Confido, told Postimees that as they decided to hire refugees, they had asked the Health Board about the rules governing Ukrainian medical staff. «Most of them are nurses, but there are also physicians, including specialized doctors, and chiropractors,» Lambot said. «However, they cannot work independently for a long time, because the Estonian medical system is digital and in Estonian, with very strict rules. But we wanted to start providing some employment to them.»
Confido has an instructor/mentor per every Ukrainian staff member, Lambot said. «This is a theoretical plan, but our people have already met with their new colleagues and they will learn everything necessary during their daily work; we shall instruct them every day.»
Lambot said that they have, for example, urologists who carry out surgery and others who receive patients – partial work will show what kind of work suits the refugees best.
«We believe that the most important matter is to offer then work and activity. So that they need not just read the news and feel useless but could begin doing something. It has been already entered in the refugees’ CVs that they cannot immediately start working as doctors in Estonia. They agree to do other medical work.»
Lambot said that most of the Ukrainian medics are in Tallinn, one was in Tartu and some had informed them via mail from the Polish border that they were on the way. The applicants included some dentists but they had to be refused employment because Confido does not offer dental services. Over a couple of days, more than 60 medics expressed interest in working with Confido.
But the Ministry of Social Affairs is not happy because Confido has offered the Ukrainian medics only 1,000-euro salary. Lambot said that physicians in Estonia should be able to speak Estonian but they cannot require this from the Ukrainians. «However, we offered them an opportunity – we said at once that it would take six weeks during which time we shall try to explain them as much as possible,» she said.
«Many of them will want to return home one day. We are a private medical center and our salaries come from only the patients, nowhere else. We also have to keep in mind the nurses of Confido’s regular staff, whose work load is increased by the need to provide instruction. If we start by paying the newcomers the same salary, it would not be fair towards our own nurses. We should take one step at a time.»