The decision to proceed with this strike is based on the “complete lack of dialogue on the part of the Ministry of Health in wanting to hear the demands” of these NHS professionals, Pedro Costa, president of the Nurses Union, told Lusa.

According to the union leader, Portuguese nurses "were praised throughout" the covid-19 pandemic, being "considered key players in the vaccination process", but "are not valued" in their career.

Pedro Costa also considered that the approximately 700 million euros to strengthen the NHS foreseen in the proposed State Budget for 2022 “will only be effectively used if we have on the table” the areas to which this budget increase will be allocated.

“What is the use of having new hospitals if their human value – their professionals – are tired, unmotivated and will not be able to perform their functions in the best possible way?”, he asked.

In a statement, the Democratic Union of Nurses of Portugal (Sindepor), which also participated in the meeting, said that the strike was limited to two days, due to the awareness that union structures have of the consequences that this form of struggle has on users of the NHS.

“Without motivated nurses we won't have a healthy NHS. That is why it is important for the Government to respond to our demands, to have a robust and effective NHS, as the Portuguese deserve and need”, considered Carlos Ramalho, president of Sindepor.

According to the union, the marking of this strike applies only to mainland territory, since, in the Azores and Madeira, nurses have already seen some of their demands satisfied.