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Brussels hospital staff stage protest for tenth week in a row

13:57 06/08/2019

Staff at the Brugmann hospital in Laeken went on a 30-minute strike on Tuesday around lunchtime – for the 10th week in a row.

Some 40 members of the medical staff protested in front of the hospital’s main entrance on Tuesday. The nurses and medics did so to call attention to increasing work pressure as well as continuing labour shortages at the hospital.

“We are asking for more personnel, a salary increase and an overall well-being policy at work,” labour unionist Karim Brikci told Bruzz. “Of course, this is due to the general underfunding of healthcare. But we are turning to management until we have a new federal government.”

Dirk Thielen, general director of UVC Brugmann, the umbrella hospital network of which the Laeken hospital is part, told Bruzz that there was no budget to hire new staff members. According to Thielen, the hospital was underfunded because the government allocated money to hospitals based on decades-old norms.

“Those norms are completely out of date – today people spend less time in the hospital than in the past, but the amount of hospital admissions continues to increase every year,” Thielen said. “In other words, more patients require shorter, but more intensive care without there having been an accompanying increase in personnel.”

Photo: Belga / Nicolas Maeterlinck

Written by Linda A. Thompson