Independent Doctors’ Union against proposed 1.6% pay rise

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The Independent Doctors Union (SIM) received at 02:59 today the Government’s proposal on full dedication and the salary grid, but considered that the proposal for a 1.6% increase “does not make any sense”.

“After 14 months, the Government formalizes and starts the negotiation process in practice, sending a proposal on the salary grid and full dedication (…), but we think, in the first reading, that it makes no sense to propose a salary increase, maintaining the 1.6%”, SIM general secretary Jorge Roque da Cunha told the Lusa agency.

On the day that doctors fulfill the third and last day of the strike called by SIM and on the eve of the negotiation meeting with the Ministry of Health, Roque da Cunha said he will present a counter proposal, ensuring that it will not “take as long as the Government” took to present his.

“Naturally, we maintain the spirit of negotiation, but unfortunately [the reasons for this strike remain], which we did everything to avoid, and which is embodied in a very expressive value of adherence, of about 93% of colleagues in General Practice and Family Medicine in the first two days and about 91% in hospital care”.

For this reason, he said, the call to the Prime Minister and the Minister of Finance to put into practice “what they proclaim politically: Invest in the National Health Service” is also maintained.

“Last year €11.8 billion more was collected than what was done for 2021. In addition, we have the PRR [Recovery and Resilience Plan] which is also many millions of euros that come to our country and, therefore, for the sake of common sense, we strongly urge the Ministry of Health and the Government to change this initial proposal because otherwise the reasons for discontent will continue and the reasons for doctors not to continue in the National Health Service as well “, he warned.

Recalling the words of the Minister of Health that a negotiation process is like “the tango”, in which there must be two people, the unionist commented that, “at this stage, Dr. Pizarro is more interested in the rumba”, alluding to the hiring of Cuban doctors, which he said he “deeply regretted”.

Asked how much of an increase he would consider fair, he said that, “in the interests of common sense”, it should take into account the 20% loss of purchasing power of doctors over the past 10 years.

“Naturally we hope that this will happen, because if it doesn’t, what is not spent today ends up later being forced by the State to spend on service providers, in addition to the health problems that are aggravated in people, both in terms of deaths and disabilities and, therefore, we will be here to negotiate”, he stressed.

He also said that the 2,000 terminations that have occurred in the last two years, to which will be added the approximately 1,100 doctors who will retire in the coming years, make for “great doubts about this proposal”.

“We will present our counter-proposal, but if this remains the case, there will naturally continue to be a lot of difficulty in hiring doctors, the number of Portuguese without a family doctor will continue to increase and waiting times for surgeries and hospital consultations will increase and, without a doubt, the number of Portuguese who will need health insurance will increase,” he said.

The president of the National Federation of Doctors, Joana Bordalo e Sá, criticized that the proposal was sent at 02:59 today, “just over 24 in advance of the meeting”, saying that it shows “lack of competence” and that the Minister of Health continues to treat doctors, users and patients “with a huge lack of respect”.

“It seems that the idea is that no one reads it”, said Joana Bordalo e Sá, noting that FNAM needs some time to analyze the proposal, so she did not want to comment, stating only that “the Ministry of Health needed 15 months to complete a proposal”.

The president of FNAM said that the strike scheduled for August 1 and 2 remains, as well as the concentration scheduled for Tuesday in front of the Ministry of Health.

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