On a day when hopes centre on averting the looming two-day strike by SNS (public sector) doctors, surgeons at Portalegre Hospital have decided not to work ‘extraordinary hours’, in support of striking colleagues. ‘Extraordinary hours’ are those on top of the 150 statutory hours of overtime per year that doctors must work. Health minister Manuel Pizarro has already said emergency services “have always worked with doctors working extraordinary hours”; doctors are no longer prepared to accept this. Reports today say ‘in theory’ programmed surgeries will be transferred from Portalegre “to another hospital”. In practice they will probably face some considerable delays.