A strike that’s pulled 23 public sector doctors off the job in Bergen, Tromsø, Narvik, Stavanger and Trondheim will expand from Monday, if local municipal employers don’t stop ordering them to work extra shifts at emergency centers in addition to their full-time jobs as primary physicians.
Another 12 doctors will join the strike in seven small communities from Karasjok and Kautokeino in the far north to Sirdal in the south. The numbers aren’t large, but they have an impact in areas where medical services are limited.
Norway’s national medical association Legeforeningen defended the strike in the midst of the Corona crisis. “Our first phase attempted to shield the public and patients and we are socially responsible, also during a strike,” the association’s president claimed. The doctors maintain that they’re already stretched, and that they shouldn’t be forced to work more than seven hours per week on emergency in addition to their regular duty.
The organization representing the municipal employers, KS, accused the doctors of intentionally striking in communities with few primary care physicials, and claimed the strike was putting public health in danger. The doctors retorted that KS hasn’t been willing to address the issue of excessive overtime.