Doctors syndicate schedules national strike on March 8-9

“The SNS health service must be saved” – Federation

Portugal’s national federation of doctors (FNAM) has announced a national strike for March 8 and 9, alleging “lack of measures” for the SNS national health service, and insisting “the SNS must be saved”.

Said the union in a statement: “FNAM has scheduled a national strike of doctors for March 8 and 9, in response to the lack of commitment by the Ministry of Health to negotiate salary scales and the lack of measures to save the National Health Service” – but as Lusa news agency points out, “the government guarantees it is committed to negotiations scheduled until June.”

FNAM’s decision came after the most recent round of negotiations which have been “ongoing for several months”.

Issues include “standards of organisation and discipline at work, valorisation of doctors in emergency services” as well as what Lusa calls “the full dedication provided for in the new NHS Statute and the review of salary scales”.

But according to the federation, the health ministry is simply dragging the process out “with an accumulation of requests to postpone meetings and a shortage of proposals”.

“On the other hand, medical unions have done their work in a responsible way, meeting deadlines and presenting proposals”. 

In other words, health minister Manuel Pizarro’s team is being seen as presenting “palliative measures, through the recently created executive board of the SNS”, in what FNAM believes to be “a default of negotiations“.

Doctors have reached “an untenable situation“, says the federation, citing exhaustion, and lack of motivation, particularly following the challenges of the pandemic.

For its part, the health ministry insists it has been negotiating “in good faith”, and remains so committed. 

The next meeting between the parties comes next week, but this far, just as teachers hold the country’s State education system to ransom, doctors too are on the warpath.

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