In a sudden inspection visit by Health Minister Ahmed Emad El-Din Rady to Luxor hospitals on Sunday, it was discovered that one of the hospitals had only three doctors present during working hours instead of the 47 who were supposed to be present.
Rady referred the missing 44 doctors to be investigated by the Administrative Prosecution Authority, the ministry said in an official statement.
This has prompted the minister to recommend enforcing law number 49, which currently applies only to educational hospitals, to public hospitals as well.
“There is no law that ensures commitment of doctors’ work inside public hospitals,” Rady said in the statement. “This is why there should be increased monitoring over their work, to prevent further shortcomings.”
Law number 49 was initially drafted to regulate the work of educational hospitals. It states that each educational hospital is led by an independent office that examines and checks on its work. This office presents a monthly report to the upper board of management of educational hospitals on the hospital and the patients’ views towards its services.
It also stated that the real cost of medical services presented for the patients should be covered from the medical insurance budget, the state’s annual budget, or any other extra resources without raising the cost of a medical check-up for underprivileged patients.
Subsidised – free-of-charge – medical treatment has a long legislative history in Egypt; however, a majority of public hospitals cannot afford to enforce it, due to increasingly low budgets, manpower, and ailing equipment.
In a previous visit by Daily News Egypt to Al-Qasr Al-Einy hospital, one of the largest healthcare facilities in Egypt, it was discovered that the patients pay extra fees to the ticket of checkups. This can reach up to EGP 5,000 for operations related to orthopaedic injuries, for example.
Violations in the healthcare sector extend not only to absence of medical personnel but also to accessibility of medical treatment and professional errors.
Thousands of medical negligence cases were reported during 2015, according to Administrative Prosecution figures. A total of 1,997 violations in Cairo alone have been investigated by the Administrative Prosecution, followed by 1,668 cases in Alexandria, and 820 cases in Giza.