HUNDREDS of doctors in Catalonia began a four-day strike yesterday calling for better working conditions as they denounced the ‘collapse’ of the healthcare system.
“We’re asking for help, because we cannot give people the resources they need to be treated during this COVID pandemic,” said Natalia Roses, a doctor at a protest in Barcelona.
The strike was called by the union Metges de Catalunya (MC), which demanded new hirings and pay rises to compensate for years of austerity.
The MC, which represents nearly 6000 doctors, also called for a better distribution of the workforce to help combat the pandemic, which has so far claimed 5883 lives in Catalonia alone.
“We have been crying out for help for months and nobody has responded,” said Dr Bartolozzi. “Nobody wants the strike, but we have to do something.”
According to the organisers, at least 55% of physicians backed the industrial action, though the Catalan Health Institute (ICS) reported that only 561 (19.8%) took part in the strike.
Although doctors claim they are being ‘mistreated’ and that the pandemic has forced them to treat patients ‘like cattle,’ the ICS has refused to negotiate, describing the strike as ‘absolutely inopportune.’
However, Josep Maria Agrimon, Catalan secretary of Public Health, did say that the region’s healthcare system needed to undergo ‘transformation.’