Colombian Doctors: “We have assumed the challenge to unionize.” (…)

Originally posted on doc2doc.

A few weeks ago I wrote some posts about labour conditions for doctors in Colombia as well as the attention of doctors in this country to the events taking place in the UK.

Last year, several doctors trade unions in Colombia obtained legal approval. General practitioners created SIMUC (Sindicato Médicos Unidos de Colombia) on April 2015, on the meanwhile, each one of the medical specialities had created their own union. I believe that one of the most remarkable aspects to highlight about these newly created doctors unions in Colombia is the fluent communication between Colombian doctors to do written and spoken statements, individually and collectively, about the current situation of the health care system in our country. For example:

“Trade unions of general practitioners and specialists from Colombia: Open Letter

The labour unions of general practitioners and specialists from Colombia due to the serious and bothersome situation deteriorating our health care system, publicly denounce the following issues:

1. The purpose of the health care system is to cover the entire population with services provided under the principles of quality and opportuneness has not yielded the expected results.

2. The well-known limited flow of financial resources on behalf of the national government and health insurance companies (EPS – Health Promoting Entities) have limited payment of obligations to all the stakeholders in our national health care system. As a result, several hospital services such as emergency units and surgical rooms are now closed, many beds in hospitalization rooms have been lost. It is unnerving, disturbing and inappropriate the complete closure of pediatric services by hospitals and clinics (IPS) as well as by the EPS. This situation has happened without any anticipation of the consequences secondary to the improvisation by governmental authorities at local (i.e., cities, municipalities, and departments) and national level (i.e., health ministry).

3. Closure of hospitals, clinics, and health insurers have caused a widespread deterioration in the delivery of medical services, adversely affecting the well-being and the overall health status of our patients, even to the point of causing death in some unfortunate cases by provision of health care services with are untimely, ineffective, and delivered in shoddy installations with an insufficient number of well-trained of medical professionals necessary to do the job consisting on the primary, secondary, and tertiary prevention of human illnesses.

4. The overcrowding of installed capacity causes uncontrollable events resulting in a high psychosocial risk factor to do our medical profession, doctors are not only exposed to lawsuits or investigations of any kind (e.g., civil, criminal, ethical nature, disciplinary, etc) but also to physical and verbal abuses by grievers. Faced with this situation the EPS and IPS have not taken any corrective measures to guarantee their employees and contractors with the least guarantees of safety and well-being at the workplace, it can even be interpreted as setting up a form of labor deprotection steps, this situation have not been yet acknowledged by the ministry of labour without any intervention on behalf of healthcare workers across the country.”

(Translation of points 5-8 of the letter in a consequent post – original letter in Spanish here:…)/carta-abierta/)

Here is a video in Spanish with English subtitles showing the president of SIMUC speaking at the clinic of Champagnat – Saludcoop Cali, Colombia.

It will be very interesting to exchange ideas about some obscure situations that doctors face every day (e.g., violence, unemployment, reprisals from whistleblowing, etc) and how unions can effectively protect us.


P.S. Part 1 of the video – No English subtitles (yet…)

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