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Doctor Strike Looms

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Honeymoon ending – doctor strike looms


THE HONEYMOON between Panama’s health guilds and the current administration  may be nearing  its end.

The amicable relationship  was a crossover from the closing days of the previous health authorities who had a fractious relationship with the National Medical Negotiating Commission (Comenenal).

The medical guilds  are threatening to take to the streets and call a  strike, if their current concerns are not addressed.

The guild is calling for  residents and interns  be paid the overtime, which they have not  received, the timely supply of surgical medical supplies and the improvement of working conditions in different units.

If their demands are  not met  by May 20,  they will stop work says  according to Comenenal leader Domingo Moreno.

He said that they also require the recognition of specialties and other studies. “On Wednesday I must have answers for the bases or on that day we decide whether or not there will be a work stoppage.” he said.

The last stoppage was in 2013 over Law 89  which authorizes and regulates the hiring of foreign doctors in Panama. The action lasted 36 days and canceled 200,000  appointments and 5,000 surgeries.

Other independent guilds like the Association of Physicians, Dentists and Related Professionals of the Social Security Fund (Amoacss) have said that they will support the measure.

Amoacss has more than 1 200 professionals.

According to their undersecretary, Maritza Hernández, they are also calling for a halt to the shortage of supplies and medicines as well as salary adjustments for areas of difficult access and equalization of medical shifts as was done with other health guilds.

The strike call persists despite a meeting last week between  Comenenal leaders and  Health Minister Miguel Mayo, who invited them to continue the dialogue.

“We agree with the requests, but we have to do it responsibly,” Mayo said.


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