30 Apr 2003

French Polynesian doctors' strike set to spread

3:31 pm on 30 April 2003

There are fears that a doctors' strike in French Polynesia will spread, with union sources saying midwives and other medical staff may also walk off their job.

In a dispute over payments from public health care insurance, public hospital doctors have today joined the indefinite industrial action begun by private doctors two days ago.

The stand-off centres on the financial woes of the insurance scheme which has cut doctor payments because of its deficit.

Only emergency medical care is available and reports say demand has risen sharply.

The news agency AFP says there appear to have been no new negotiations between the doctors and the insurance, known as CPS.

The doctors' organisation is said to be refusing to talk to the CPS management and would rather open a dialgue with the territorial government.