Medics in Portugal strike over spending cuts

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Medics in Portugal strike over spending cuts

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Doctors and nurses in Portugal went on strike on Wednesday in protest at government spending cuts.

Unions called for the two-day walkout over plans to slash the country’s healthcare budget to meet EU-IMF bailout targets.

Medics are also angry about the hikes in consultation fees and the increased use of private firms to provide public services.

Jorge Roque da Cunha, the secretary-general of Independent Doctors Union, said: “We do not want to see a health system that allows the state to hire whichever medics offer the cheapest hourly rate.”

The planned reforms are part of Lisbon’s bid to shrink its budget deficit as part of a 78 billion euros rescue package agreed in May last year.

The government said 4,500 operations and 400,000 appointments could be cancelled during the industrial action, which ends on Thursday.