September 19, 2008

Peruvian Social Welfare Workers Join Strike By Doctors

Peruvian social welfare workers join strike by doctors

LIMA, Sept. 17 (Xinhua) -- Peruvian social welfare workers joined the ranks on Wednesday of the 13,000 striking doctors of the Medical Federation of Peru (FMP).

About 25,000 workers of the social welfare organization Essalud rallied to urge the government to raise their bonus since the number of patients needing medical assistance has increased by 5 percent.

The Economy and Finance Ministry said that the government could not meet the demands of public sector doctors, which amounted to 300 million new soles (100 million U.S. dollars).

"It is a very strong demand. We have an administrative structure which needs to be changed, but we need time. We have promised the doctors to improve their conditions," Finance Minister Luis Valdevieso said.

The FMP, dissatisfied with Health Minister Hernan Garrido-Lecca, said that any offer from him would be an offence to the doctors and accused him of worsening the confrontation by "fanning up the fire".

Except emergency and UTC services, consultations in public and Social Security hospitals have been suspended.

Earlier reports said that the lack of medical attention in Lima and other provinces has caused deceases, but the authorities have denied the claim.

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