Doctors in Poland protest overtime, disrupting hospitals

A protest by thousands of doctors in Poland who refuse to work overtime has disrupted services at some hospitals, including children's wards.

Poland's state-funded health care is chronically strapped, understaffed and poorly organized. In some regions, the wait for free procedures can take years. Low earnings can force doctors to work overtime, though wage increases took effect Monday.

The Health Ministry said Wednesday that some 3,500 doctors have opted out of contracts that allowed for work weeks of more than 48 hours. The protesters say the number is more like 5,000.

The opposition is calling for the health minister's dismissal in an expected government reshuffle.

Some hospitals, including one for children in Bialystok, have been forced to postpone non-life-saving procedures or close night emergency service.