Family doctors protest about the pressure of work in The Hague

Photo: Bart Maat ANP
Photo: Bart Maat ANP

Several thousand family doctors and their assistants took part in a demonstration in The Hague on Friday afternoon in protest at the increasing pressure of work they are facing. In particular, doctors are angry about all the extra tasks they have been given over the past few years.

Family doctors’ association LHV said it estimated between 4,000 and 5,000 people attended the demonstration, which took place close to the parliamentary complex.

Health minister Ernst Kuipers had been due to address the gathering but was delayed because the cabinet meeting went on too long. Police were then forced to intervene to stop a small group of doctors who said they would go and fetch him instead.

Many of the doctors wore white shirts with a number on it, representing the number of patients in their care. Others carried banners and placards with slogans referring to the lack of time doctors have to deal with patient care. ‘Have you got a minute, because we haven’t,’ said one poster. ‘I care about tomorrow’s care,’ said another.

The doctors want to make concrete agreements to make sure there is a real change in their role in the coming years. In particular, waiting lists for youth social services and hospital treatment are a bone of contention, news website reported.

A small group of doctors were able to talk to Kuipers later. ‘I am inviting you to come up short term concrete proposals,’ the minister is quoted as saying by the AD. ‘What do you actually want at this moment.’

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