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Health care minister appeals to doctors to stay

The Czech Republic's health care minister is appealing to thousands of doctors to abandon a plan to quit their jobs at regional hospitals in protest of low salaries.

Leos Heger said in a statement released Wednesday that he understands why doctors are protesting, but that hospitals will get increased funding starting next year.

The Czech doctors union says some 3,800 doctors have handed in their resignations effective March 1. Major university clinics in Prague are not expected to be seriously affected but access to health care could be limited in regional hospitals if the doctors don't change their minds.

The union had no reaction Wednesday.

Critics, including President Vaclav Klaus, call the protest irresponsible.