CAIRO: Rights group Doctors Without Rights (DWR) are planning to protest what they describe as the Health Ministry s “deception.
The group is staging a protest outside the Doctors Syndicate a day before Doctors Day on March 18, where Prime Minister Ahmed Nazif and Minister of Health Hatem Al-Gabaly will be honored during the syndicate s celebrations.
In the statement announcing the protest, DWR denounce “the honoring of those responsible for doctors suffering and call for an end to “the deception of doctors with make-believe incentive payments.
Earlier this week independent daily Al-Dostour reported that during a meeting with Doctors Syndicate head Hamdy El-Sayyed, Nazif announced that incentive payments due to be received by specialists and consultants in June will not be paid because of “insufficient funds as a result of the global economic crisis.
Nazif is reported to have said that the funds necessary to grant the incentive payments will not be available for another two years.
In July 2008 Nazif announced that doctors employed by the Ministry of Health will benefit from a total of LE 850 million allotted to health sector employees by the end of the financial year.
The announcement followed a week-long sit-in organized by DWR members who have been involved in a long-running campaign for an LE 1,000 minimum wage for Ministry of Health doctors.
DWR criticized Article 3 of ministerial decree 318 – which implemented the doctor s incentive payment scheme – because it tied the payment of incentives to the “availability of finances.
The group has consistently rejected government offers of wage increases in the form of incentive payments which they say are unreliable and subject to the arbitrary decisions of hospital management.
In an open letter sent to Nazif last week, details of which were published in the daily El-Shorouk, DWR demanded that the doctor s incentive payment be made into an allowance “in order to put an end to the health ministry s pretext for its failure to grant [the incentive payment]…and in order to ensure that it is regularly paid at the start of each month with the rest of the salary.
The group also calls for the cancellation of Article 3 of ministerial decree 318.