State Security practices; doctors scandalized by new privacy declaration

Following Bivol’s Investigation: New Boss of Vratsa Hospital Mandates Staff to Report Colleagues Talking to Journalists

A scandalous declaration is forcing doctors at “Hristo Botev” Hospital in Bulgaria’s northwestern city of Vratsa to remain silent for life, writes the local site Zov News, which has obtained a copy of the document. In addition, the staff must report to the management those colleagues who leak information if they are aware of the leak.

The management of “Hristo Botev” Hospital – Vratsa has distributed among its staff the declaration, which according to the employees of the medical facility violates basic human rights. The mastermind of the initiative is the new Director of the hospital, Evgeni Lyubenov (pictured).

A careful reading of the document shows that it forces those who sign it to remain silent for life about what is happening in the hospital, according to Zov News. The site adds that it deprives workers even of the possibility of complaining to outside watchdogs when the employer has committed an offense against them.

The abrupt measures taken by the new chief of the impoverished Vratsa hospital accidentally or not have been introduced after Bivol published an investigation about the syphoning of the medical facility over the years by medical bosses and people connected to power circles.

Obligation to report as in the times of the Communist-era secret services

Even more scandalous is the clause with which Lyubenov mandates hospital workers to immediately notify the employer if they learn that there are circumstances that can be deemed a risk of disclosing confidential information to third parties as well as in cases of disclosure of confidential information to third parties.

In simpler words, Lyubenov is forcing staff to report if they learn that one of their colleagues has spoken to journalists, for example.

Silence for Life

Even if doctors witness an offense by the management, they have no right to speak. If Lyubenov had forced them to work 36 hours, as in a recent case with a doctor in the children’s unit, that means that the doctor will not have the right to defend himself because he has signed a declaration of silence for life and his job duties are now confidential information, which runs counter to any laws, writes the Vratsa site.

In the event that one of the staff of the medical facility is “reported” to the director for guilty behavior, the guilty employee owes a compensation for the inflicted harm. What is not said in the declaration is that on its grounds Lyubenov may at any time dismiss an employee without paying them any compensation if there is a report against them in any form.

Infringement of the new data protection law?

Apart from the fact that the employees at “Hristo Botev” Hospital – Vratsa have to sign the scandalous declaration, they have to write down their personal data at the beginning of the document, the copy published by Zov News reveals.

A check by Zov News has established that so far none of the staff has received, together with the declaration, the necessary documents under the new mandatory data protection regulation.

Representatives of the trade unions at “Hristo Botev” Hospital – Vratsa have already given the scandalous declaration to lawyers for consultation and their opinion is forthcoming and is expected tomorrow. The Bulgarian Doctors’ Union-Vratsa has also been briefed on the document.



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