Canadian doctors spurn a raise, saying others should get it

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In an unusual turnabout, hundreds of physicians in Quebec are voicing opposition to a recent hike in their pay. They're saying they already earn more than enough -- and they'd rather the money go to alleviate conditions for patients and overworked nurses. 

More than 750 doctors, residents and medical students from the Canadian province signed an online petition that requests their raises be canceled, noting drastic cuts by the government left some citizens without access to necessary medical services. 

"We, Quebec doctors who believe in a strong public system, oppose the recent salary increases negotiated by our medical federations," the petition, written in French, said. "These conditions are all the more shocking because our nurses, clerks and other professionals face very difficult working conditions." 

The petition urged that the money that would have gone to fatten their paychecks instead be redistributed "to promote the heath of the population and meet the needs of patients without pushing workers to the end."

The petition comes after a nurses union in the province called on the government to address a shortage in their ranks by improving their working conditions. 

The scenario was illustrated in a Facebook post by a teary-eyed Quebec nurse, who wrote after a night shift in which she'd been the sole nurse to look after more than 70 patients. "I am broken by my profession, I am ashamed of the poverty of the care that I provide, she said.

Quebec's federation of medical specialists in February reached an accord with the government to hike the yearly salaries of its 10,000 members in the province by about 1.4 percent, according to the Canadian Broadcast Corp. The news service reported that the average salary for a specialist in Quebec had stood at $403,537.