Doctors will be walking out on March 8 and 9
Portugal’s National Federation of Doctors (FNAM) has reconfirmed the strike action planned for next week, on the basis of an “unaccceptable step backwards in negotiations with the government”.
The hiatus was called when FNAM walked into what it hoped would be a positive round of talks to be presented with a proposal that “leaves open” a five-year increase in the age of doctors to be tied to night and emergency work.
“Doctors are exhausted and this is unacceptable. It is absolutely unacceptable. They are presenting us, deep down, almost as a bargaining chip, the loss of rights,” Joana Bordalo e Sá, chairwoman of the FNAM Executive Committee, told Lusa news agency yesterday. It is an “absolute and unacceptable step backwards”.
Thus the strike planned for next Wednesday and Thursday will be going ahead, and it will be, said the FNAM spokeswoman, “a strike for all doctors in any sector”.
As Joana Bordalo e Sá stressed, the worst of this impasse is that it involves a proposal that doctors believed had already been ‘taken off the table’.
It doesn’t solely refer to senior physicians having to work nights and emergency service shifts for more years than they do now, it “leaves open the possibility that family doctors may no longer have a limit for the number of their patients, or have a different or greater limit than what it is now, which is immense,” she said.
Regarding increasing the age limits, what the government is attempting is to make doctors who now can stop performing emergency work at the age of 55 continue until the age of 60 – and those doing night shifts up to the age of 50 have to continue doing so to the age of 55.
The requirements “will not help to keep doctors in the national health service”, in FNAM’s opinion, and will simply lead to more of them taking early retirement/ moving into the private sector.
“Manuel Pizarro knows very well what has to be done”, says Bordalo e Sá, and it is not to keep dredging up “indecent proposals”