German hospital doctors went on a day-long strike on Thursday for better pay and working conditions.
The doctors' union Marburger Bund said the strike is taking place at 460 hospitals across the country, but emergency services will be maintained in these hospitals during the day.
Most planned operations and outpatient appointments were canceled.
The union, which represents around 55,000 doctors, is demanding a 5.5% pay raise, as well as changes to long shifts and on-call working arrangements.
Dr. Susanne Johna, head of the Marburger Bund, told local media that exhaustion and stressful working conditions have become unbearable for many doctors.
“In some hospitals, working conditions are so bad that some doctors are quitting their jobs, starting their own medical practices, or working as an employee at medical care centers,” she told Redaktionsnetzwerk Deutschland (RND).
Surges in coronavirus infections have also resulted in a heavier workload and stress for doctors, especially for those responsible for intensive care units, infection wards, and emergency rooms, she added.