German doctors warn that assistant strikes will impact patient appointments
As medical assistants strike on February 8, doctors in Germany have warned that the industrial action will likely impact patient appointments.
Doctors’ practice staff strikes to disrupt patient appointments
Doctors in Germany have warned that medical assistant staff strikes will likely disrupt patient appointments planned for February 8, 2024. Around 330.000 medical assistants (Medizinische Fachangestellte (MFA)) are expected to join the industrial action.
Speaking to the AFP, a representative for the Federal Association of Doctors, Nicola Buhlinger-Göpfarth, said that patients who have an appointment planned are urged to reschedule to another day or contact their doctor’s practice shortly before the scheduled appointment to check if it is still going ahead.
Buhlinger-Göpfarth added that the association understood why staff were conducting the warning striking, acknowledging the important role that practice support medical assistants play; “Through their tireless efforts they not only keep practices running but play an increasingly central role in patient care”.
Some doctors’ practices in Germany are expected to close entirely on Thursday in solidarity with striking staff.
What are doctors’ practice staff demanding?
Since October, medical assistants in Germany have been negotiating a new collective labour agreement. The Association of Medical Assistants (VMF) entered negotiations demanding a 14,6 percent increase in pay and so far has only received the offer of a 5,5 percent increase.
“We cannot be satisfied with this,” VMF President Hannelore König wrote in a press release. According to the doctors’ magazine Ärzteblatt, a 5,5 percent pay rise would mean that medical assistants would still be paid less after three years of training than a nurse is paid after just one year. “Colleagues with 17 years of professional experience are being offered just 0,1 percent more,” said König.
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