CAIRO: Doctors Without Rights (DWR) have dismissed promises of allowances payments as “nothing new.
Prime Minister Ahmed Nazif had promised to make the doctors’ demands a “top priority on the government’s agenda during a press conference commemorating Doctors’ Day.
“More needs to be done in terms of increasing doctors’ salaries, Head of the Doctors’ Syndicate Hamdy Al-Sayyed said at the conference.
Dr Abdel Rahman Shahin, the Minister of Health’s spokesman, said that the ministry is “sympathetic with the doctors and their demands for higher salaries.
The Doctors’ Syndicate had announced on its website Wednesday that Prime Minister Ahmed Nazif had ordered allowance payments of LE 50 and LE 150 be paid to diploma holders and fellowship members respectively.
But DWR are skeptical that any of these allowances will be delivered.
“This is nothing new. In July 2008 following pressure from doctors, Dr Nazif and Dr Youssef Botrous [Ghali, finance minister] said that an allowance of LE 75 – not LE 50 – would be given to diploma holders, and LE 150 to fellowship members.
“We demanded these payments repeatedly but they weren’t paid because the promises weren’t put into the form of a ministerial decree, Dr Mona Mina, a member of DWR, told Daily News Egypt.
“Today they’re making the same promises which again haven’t been translated into a decree. If these are genuine promises we hope that a ministerial decree will be published in newspapers so that we know they’re serious about these payments, Mina continued.
Mina was also critical of the amounts awarded to doctors.
“They have also reduced the diploma allowance at a time when prices are going up. The allowance for masters holders is LE 100 – when masters studies cost several thousand per year.
“We hope that a decree will be issued awarding doctors a LE 75 diploma allowance and that it’s not hampered by the administrative red tape.
Last year, Nazif passed ministerial decree 318 which granted doctors the “doctors’ incentive payment. On Tuesday doctors protested problems in the granting of this payment and reiterated their demand for a basic minimum wage.
Nazif recently announced that as a result of the global economic crisis spending of the second stage of the incentive payment, due to begin in 2009, will be postponed until 2011.
According to Mina, “Not a single specialist has taken a penny from ministerial decree 318. She refuted the assertion made in the syndicate s statement that doctors working in health insurance hospitals and certain other sectors are not entitled to an increase in incentive payments because “they receive incentive payments not awarded to their peers in general and teaching hospitals.
“Article 3 of this decree explicitly states that payment of the doctors’ incentives is not affected by the receipt of any other incentive payments, Mina explained.
“In any case doctors who are described as benefiting from payments drawn from other sources complain that they don t receive such payments or that they are trivial amounts. -Additional reporting by Yasmine Saleh.