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Talks between Doctors and State Going Nowhere

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Talks between Doctors and State Going Nowhere

Ambulance

Photo: Páll Stefánsson.

After 42 meetings in the five months since the wage dispute between doctors in the Icelandic Medical Association and Surgeon’s Association and representatives of the Icelandic health authorities was referred to the State Negotiator, talks are going nowhere.

Doctors are still demanding a minimum of 30 percent pay raise and the state won’t budge from their offer of 3 percent, Fréttablaðið reports.

“We all agree that we want a good healthcare system,” commented Minister of Health Kristján Þór Júlíusson. “But we are having problems finding ways to a joint solution.”

Doctors in Iceland, who have never gone on strike before, have now completed their second series of strike and further strikes are on the horizon.

“There is no reason to think that the next series will be any easier and therefore it is even more important than before to ask parties to the dispute to reach a solution as soon as possible,” stated director of Landspítali National University Hospital Páll Matthíasson. “Everyone’s interests are at stake.”

Hundreds of operations have been postponed because of the strike and waiting list keeps getting longer. The estimated national economic loss because of the wage dispute is estimated at ISK 100 million (USD 808,000, EUR 648,000) per day.

Doctors, both in Akureyri and Reykjavík, are losing hope and consider resigning, while the state is considering a law to ban the strike, according to the newspaper’s sources.

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