Vandenbroucke to free up extra resources for specialist doctors in training
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Vandenbroucke to free up extra resources for specialist doctors in training

Federal health minister Frank Vandenbroucke. Credit: Belga

Belgium will make extra resources available to reach an agreement with hospital federations, following the demand of junior doctors for better working conditions, said Federal Health Minister Frank Vandenbroucke.

“I am deeply convinced that these conditions must improve. I am following these negotiations closely,” he said in the Chamber on Thursday.

Vandenbroucke did not want to communicate the number of additional resources that will be made available yet. €10 million have already been earmarked, but meetings are still scheduled for 5 May and 19 May.

On Thursday, a group of specialist candidate assistants carried out a protest action in the form of a one-hour work stoppage, and other actions will follow.

They denounce the work agreement proposed by the hospital federations during the joint doctor-hospital commission, and demand real work contracts, a fairer calculation of working hours and overtime, and protection in case of sick leave.

Since the beginning of the strike, several hospital federations have also expressed their views, with academic hospitals and the Brussels public hospitals of the Iris network coming out in favour of improving the working conditions of the assistants, but asking for help from the federal government.

The Brussels Times