Doctors to strike in five Norwegian cities

Doctors to strike in five Norwegian cities
Photo by Markus Frieauff on Unsplash
The Norwegian Medical Association has confirmed that 23 doctors in Tromsø, Trondheim, Narvik, Bergen and Stavanger will go on strike from Monday next week.

The news comes following last week’s breakdown in talks between the Norwegian Association of Local and Regional Authorities (KS) and the Norwegian Medical Association (NMA).

READ ALSO: No Norwegian agreement over doctors’ terms as strike awaits

Provisions over on-call working hours are the key stumbling block in the dispute.

The medical association believes that the workload for GPs is too great given that on-call services are added to normal working hours, and with doctors unable to set any limits for how many shifts can be imposed.

The NMA has warned that the scope of the strike could be increased if an agreement is not reached before October 26th, national broadcaster NRK reports.

Between four or five doctors in municipalities affected by the strikes will be taken off duty, NMA union president Marit Hermansen told NRK.

“We take responsible strike action with major on-call services. These are active on-call doctors who also have full-time regular medical practice. But they will (only) be striking as on-call staff,” Hermansen said.

Given the pressure placed on health services by the Covid-19 pandemic, the union leader said the public would be protected from consequences of the strikes as much as possible.

“We are concerned that this walkout will not impact patients or services in a way that endangers life or health. We don’t want to create difficulty for municipalities dealing with the pandemic. That’s why we have chosen five large city municipalities,” she said.

KS has criticised the strike and said that there was currently no basis for renewed talks between the two sides.

“We regret that the NMA has chosen conflict on an issue on which we should sit around the table with the state to find a solution,” the working environments director for KS Tor Arne Gangsø said to NRK.

Any action that affects emergency wards could endanger life and health, Gangsø said.

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