By Alyssa McMurtry
OVIEDO, Spain (AA) – Doctors in the Spanish region of Valencia went on strike on Monday for the first time in 28 years.
Negotiations with the Valencia government broke down, driving local doctors to join those in other parts of the country, like Madrid, to organize labor action.
“The motive of the strike, just like in other regions of Spain, is to show that our healthcare system is collapsed and falling apart, what the causes are and who is responsible,” doctors’ union CESM-CV said in a statement.
The union is trying to limit the number of patients doctors can see per day, the number of 24-hour shifts that doctors must work, and other conditions that they say would benefit both doctors and patients.
On Monday morning, the regional government said just 7.8% of Valencia’s 15,000 doctors walked out. CESM-CV, however, said 70% of doctors who were legally permitted to walk out went on strike.
CESM-CV called government figures “fraudulent” because they do not consider the doctors who were forced to provide “abusive” minimum services.
Even so, patients felt some disruptions on Monday.
“I came to my health clinic because I don’t know what’s wrong with me, but they said that they’re on strike and if I don’t have 39 C fever, they won’t see me,” Mar Atienzar told local daily El Levante about her clinic in the city of Valencia.
This is the first time doctors in Valencia went on strike since 1995, but all signs suggest it will not be the last time this year.
If negotiations continue to fail with the government, doctors are set to walk out on April 3 and May 8.