A report that highlighted financial violations stirred tensions at the Doctors’ Syndicate during the General Assembly on Friday.
A representative from the Central Auditing Organisation read out a full report on the Doctors’ Syndicate performance for 2011 and the financial report for 2012.
Differing political affiliations added to the tensions during the session. Taher Mokhtar, who attended the session, said that Muslim Brotherhood doctors kept interrupting the Central Auditing Organisation’s representative and directing speech at her while she read the report to distract attention from the report.
The report highlighted financial violations. Ahmed Lotfy, the spokesperson of the syndicate and board member, said the General Assembly discussed two major issues: the report and the labour law which doctors have demanded for months.
He said the Central Auditing Agency handed the report to the syndicate only an hour before the assembly started and the syndicate accountants could not therefore respond to all the claims in the report. He said the accountants needed to go back to their files to prepare a response.
He said a group of doctors from a certain political affiliation, which he did not specify, started insulting the board members and accusing them of stealing “using inappropriate language”.
Ahmed Hussein, a doctor who was one of the leaders of the 2012 doctors’ strike, said the treasurer of the syndicate gave unconvincing responses to the report.
The Treasurer of the Syndicate in 2011 was Essam Al-Erian, the Vice Chairman of the Freedom and Justice Party which is the political arm of the Muslim Brotherhood.
He released a statement on Friday night saying: “I dare any thief or liar to falsely claim anything related to my performance as Treasurer of the General Doctors’ Syndicate.” He added that there are no accusations against him and said if the press does not immediately publish corrections of the news, he will sue them.
In another statement a few hours later, Al-Erian said that Muslim Brotherhood lawyer Abdel-Moneim Abdel-Maqsood will follow up on lies being circulated about his actions.
Regarding the labour law, Lotfy said the syndicate has finished drafting the bill and that the law will be applied over a three year period. He said disagreements broke out again when some doctors said the law has to be applied for only one year. An advisor from the Ministry of Finance attended the session and said the ministry is ready to apply the law once it is passed by parliament.
Creating a labour law for medical professionals has been one of the three primary demands of the doctors’ partial strike, which started on 1 October and ended on 21 December with the stipulation that the law be passed.
The three demands of the strike were the gradual raising of the state budget for health to 15% of government spending, tougher punishments for people who attack hospitals or medical staff, and the passing of the labour law.