CAIRO: Head of the Doctors’ Syndicate Hamdy El-Sayed says he will wait and see before responding to alleged government plans to increase the wages of doctors employed in the Egyptian public health sector.
The state-owned daily Al-Akhbar Monday reported statements by Minister of Health Hatem El-Gabaly saying that LE 1 billion will be allocated to doctors’ wages over the course of three years.
Members of the Doctors’ Syndicate General Assembly last week decided to hold a two-hour strike in March if their demands for improved pay and conditions are not met.
The Syndicate is calling for LE 1,000 minimum wage for doctors.
Graduate doctors start out on between LE 130 and LE 160, while more senior doctors are paid an average of LE 600.
According to the newspaper report, doctors’ current wages will be doubled, with LE 350 million to be allocated to salaries during the next financial year and up to LE 1 billion in the following year.
According to the health minister’s statements, resident doctors will receive LE 1,300 per month by the end of the three-year plan, while shift allowances will increase to LE 225.
The increases have apparently been agreed on by a committee composed of members of the Finance and Administrative Development Ministries.
El-Sayed told Daily News Egypt that the reports have not yet been confirmed.
“We don’t yet have any information from the minister, and we will wait and see if anything will happen, he said.
“I know that Dr El-Gabaly sympathizes with us but this is not the first time that the government says it will meet our demands. While some of their promises have been implemented with regard to expenses related to work in remote areas and overtime, nothing fundamental has changed, he explained.The Al-Akhbar reports claim that El-Gabaly has called for doctors to scrutinize the ministry’s plans rather than be swayed by the “politicization of the issue.
The report also attributes comments to the minister according to which he says that the Ministry of Health is acting on its own initiative, “independently of protests – a reference to the protest organized Sunday by doctors in front of the People’s Assembly.
The protest, attended by some 60 doctors, was to draw attention to the low salaries in Ministry of Health hospitals and health units, which doctors say force them to seek employment in the private sector, undermining the quality of healthcare offered in the public sector.