Doctors’ strike underway, rapid escalation expected

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The Norwegian Medical Association warns of rapid escalation if no agreement is reached with the Norwegian Association of Local and Regional Authorities (KS).

In Bergen, Tromsø, and Narvik, five doctors went on strike, while four doctors in Stavanger and Trondheim also went on strike.

The medical association warns that the strike will escalate at the beginning of the week if the parties do not reach an agreement.

“Norway is in the middle of a pandemic that has had major consequences for the health service. 

“Our first move largely protects the population and patients from the consequences of the strike. 

“We are concerned with taking social responsibility, even during a strike,” president of the Norwegian Medical Association Marit Hermansen said when the strike was announced.

Waiting time at emergency rooms

Lise Figenschou told NRK Dagsnytt on Sunday that the strike is demanding.

“The municipal doctors and GPs have an absolutely essential role in the municipal health service, and it is the small municipalities that become most vulnerable. 

“If the strike is prolonged, it could lead to longer waiting times, for example, in the emergency room,” Figenschou said.

The last doctor’s strike occurred in 2016. It lasted five weeks.

Doctors: Too much workload

On Thursday, October 15, the State Conciliator of Norway (Riksmekleren) stated that the parties couldn’t reach an agreement. 

The core of the conflict is the special agreement that regulates outpatient care and working conditions for newly qualified doctors, among other issues. 

The Norwegian Medical Association believes that the workload is too great. 

Today, doctors are obliged to work a certain amount of emergency room in addition to their GP job. 

The medical association wants a limit on how much outpatient work can be imposed on doctors.

The medical association’s requirement in the negotiations has been that the doctor must consent to more than seven hours of emergency care per week, corresponding to 28 hours in emergency care each month.

KS’s chief negotiator Tor Arne Gangsø says that the Norwegian Medical Association has rejected all of their proposals.

“We have been involved in the negotiations and mediation to ensure that all citizens in Norway have access to emergency services. 

“We agree with the Norwegian Medical Association that some GPs have too much on-call workload, and during the mediation, we have proposed a number of measures to reduce this,” Gangsø told KS ‘website.

© NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today

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