CAIRO: Lobby group Doctors Without Rights (DWR) has expressed skepticism about whether doctors will receive pay increases announced by the Ministry of Health.
“It is a relatively positive decision if implemented, although it does not meet our full demands. Our problem with such decisions issued by the ministry is that they are not being implemented,” Mona Mina, a DWR spokeswoman, told Daily News Egypt.
Minister of Health Hatem El-Gabaly passed a decree on Sunday increasing incentive payments for Ministry of Health doctors, dentists, pharmacists, consultants, physiotherapists, nursing staff and paramedics by 175 percent of their basic wage, reported the official state news agency.
El-Gabaly is quoted as saying that the increase forms part of an overhaul of the health system in Egypt “because doctors are an inseparable part of this overhaul.”
“Improving the conditions of doctors, nursing staff and paramedics is essential in order to guarantee better health care for citizens everywhere in Egypt,” he added.
In 2008, Prime Minister Ahmed Nazif announced that doctors’ wages would be increased in the form of a two-stage incentive payment scheme.
While El-Gabaly said in 2008 that under the scheme the average salary would increase by LE 700 per month, doctors said that the incentive payments were paid irregularly, or not at all.
DWR was also critical of the fact that the 2008 decree made payment of the incentive payments it introduced conditional on “availability of resources.”
Abdel-Rahman Shaheen, ministry of health spokesman, told the news agency that Sunday’s decree was based on a study prepared by the ministry concerning the second stage of this scheme.
Mina is circumspect about the announcement, saying that ministry promises of pay increases are frequently not upheld.
“The closest example to this is what occurred in early May 2010, when El-Gabaly released a statement announcing a 145 percent increase for doctors and their assistants for the months April, May and June, adding that LE 50 million has been reserved for the raise,” Mina said.
“General Ahmed Farag, assistant to the minister, also sent a letter to the Doctors’ Syndicate affirming that statement. We are now in June and we have not seen a single pound in raise. We want to ask the ministry where this money went, since we never received it,” Mina continued adding that even if implemented the decree would only act as a “painkiller” for doctors’ demands.