Doctors go on strike

LISBON HOSPITAL doctors went on strike last week because they hadn’t been paid due overtime in Accident & Emergency. They complain they are being overworked in the hospitals of São José, Capuchos and Desterro.

The strike, which ended last Friday, caused chaos and huge waiting lists, and will be followed by further strikes in associated hospital services up until July 8.

Pilar Vicente of the National Medical Union said that the vast majority of doctors, contracted to work 35 hours a week, are often working up to 45 hours a week without being paid the statutory overtime. It was the first strike this year over pay and conditions, following three other strikes that took place in June, July and August of last year.

Vicente confirmed that the doctors hadn’t been paid the extra hours they had been obliged to carry out in April, while some overtime work still hasn’t been paid stretching back to 2001.

The services where doctors were most overworked included general medicine, anaesthetics, internal medicine, and general and clinical surgery, where there “aren’t enough doctors to go around”.

Unions are due to hold meetings with Health Minister, António Correia de Campos, to discuss the issue. C.G.