Doctors strike in dispute over reforms
21 April 2005AMSTERDAM — Thousands of family doctors suspended work from 9am to noon on Thursday to signal their unhappiness with government plans for a new healthcare system that will come into force in 2006.
21 April 2005
AMSTERDAM — Thousands of family doctors suspended work from 9am to noon on Thursday to signal their unhappiness with government plans for a new healthcare system that will come into force in 2006.
Fulco Seegers of the national doctors association LHV said the doctors used the time to follow proceedings in Parliament as Health Minister Hans Hoogervorst defends his proposals.
Seegers was unable to confirm exactly how many doctors stopped work on Thursday morning. However, he said "slightly more than half" of the LHV's 80 regional branches had indicated their members were taking part in the action.
A small number of doctors based in The Hague were to watch the debate from the public gallery in the Parliament. The rest could follow it on the internet, he said.
Emergency medical coverage was available during the stoppage.
The government plan is designed to cut health costs by introducing market forces and competition into healthcare.
Doctors are unhappy about the plans because they feel it will give health insurance companies too much power to decide which healthcare provider a patient should use.
Family doctors are also unhappy that some of their tasks will now be given to rival healthcare providers, a move that could seriously impact on their income.
Research published on Monday shows three quarters of family doctors expect to see their income drop — some by up to EUR 50,000 a year — as a result of the introduction of a fixed charge of EUR 7 per basic consultation.
[Copyright Expatica News + Novum Nieuws 2005]
Subject: Dutch news