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Portugal health workers launch strike over budget cuts

Doctors and nurses in Portugal launched a two-day nationwide strike on Wednesday over sweeping cuts in the health budget, in a protest expected to cause widespread disruption to patients.

Unions said they were expecting the biggest turnout in the health sector in over two decades in protest at cuts amounting to 800 million euros ($985 million) introducted to meet the terms of a multi-billion euro bailout deal.

“We have no doubt that the strike will be a resounding success and that the protest will assemble thousands of white coats,” said Mario Jorge Neves, head of the National Federation of Doctors.

The strike will cause widespread disruption to patients with 400,000 appointments and nearly 4,500 operations cancelled, according to estimates from the Portuguese health ministry.