ROMANIA, Romania (AP) A labor union representing care workers in Romania says it is boycotting the government over a plan to make all hospitals and nursing homes open from dawn to midnight on Sundays, the latest attempt to revive a dying industry that employs more than 300,000 people in the European Union’s poorest country.
The Association of Care Workers in Romania said the move comes as the government is seeking to revive its crumbling health care system and to make it easier to open private and public hospitals, which are more expensive and more dangerous than public hospitals.
The association’s president, Antonin Zagorac, said the government’s decision to ban weekend services is unfair and discriminatory, and that workers will not work for the Romanian National Health Service (NRH) in the coming weeks.
The government has proposed that private hospitals open on Sundays in a bid to boost revenue and ease overcrowding.
Zagorak also said the planned Sunday opening will not improve health care delivery and will result in more deaths.
The government says it wants to boost public health and reduce the risk of infections and deaths by allowing patients to come to the hospital and to use the emergency room during the week.
The decision to close hospitals in some regions comes after an outbreak of infections that have killed more than 4,000 and infected more than 100,000 in Romania since mid-September.
It is the latest in a string of outbreaks in the country, where the rate of deaths is about half that of the U.S. The number of cases is about double that in the United States.