CAIRO: Health Minister Hatem El-Gabaly announced Wednesday that LE 200 million will be apportioned to improving doctors’ pay.
The announcement, made during a “surprise visit” to the Faqous general hospital in Sharqeya, was reported yesterday by the state news agency. The funds will be directed towards specialists and assistant specialists, “as part of the health ministry’s policy aimed at raising living standards.”
The health minister’s announcement comes less than a week after the Doctors’ Syndicate threatened to stage protest action against low pay.
On Friday during its general assembly, the Doctors’ Syndicate passed 13 resolutions, including a decision to stage a protest on April 19 after which a delegation of doctors will submit a demand to officials calling for an increase in pay via the payment of incentives to specialists and consultants and coverage of diploma and fellowship incentive payments for all doctors.
Lobby group Doctors Without Rights (DWR) had in addition forwarded a motion for a one-hour protest in all hospitals on May 3 — a motion that was voted on during the general assembly.
A Youtube video uploaded by DWR shows a portion of the general assembly approving the motion. It was not, however, included in the final list of decisions published on the syndicate’s website. On their Facebook group DWR demands that the syndicate’s board “correct this mistake and publish this important decision on its website.”
DWR has been involved in a long battle for improved pay for doctors, and is calling for a fixed minimum wage of LE 1,000. In 2008 the government announced wage increases in the form of incentive payments that would be given over the course of the next two years.
Prime Minister Ahmed Nazif announced that LE 850 million would be allotted to health sector employees by the end of the 2008 financial year. However, over the course of the last two years, DWR has reported that incentive payments have either been paid late, or not at all.