Striking doctors delay tactic following threat of criminal charges

The Peruvian Medical Federation voted to postpone releasing patients prematurely from public hospitals as part of their ongoing national strike over health care investment and improved salaries. According to Radio Programs radio, the union’s president, Julio Vargas, said they would wait 48 hours in the hope of opening dialogue with Health Minister Hernán Garrido-Lecca in order to end the 20-day strike.

The announcement to release the patients without proper treatment received swift reaction from Garrido-Lecca, who threatened to file criminal charges against the striking doctors if they followed through with their plan.

“If doctors dare to do that, they are committing an illegal act. It is an offense, it is a criminal act and it will be penalized as such,” Agencia Andina reported Garrido-Lecca  saying. The minister also said that patients would be transferred to army and police hospitals if they were released without proper treatment from Peru’s public hospitals.

About 13,000 doctors began the national strike on Jan. 8 demanding, among other things, improved salaries and working conditions.

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