Egypt's Health Minister Ahmed Emad critisised on Monday a decision made by the Doctors Syndicate to provide free medical service to citizens in public hospitals starting 26 February, as long as policemen accused of assaulting doctors are not referred to court.
The syndicate's general assembly was held in response to the 28 January attack where policemen allegedly assaulted two doctors at Cairo's Matariya Hospital after one of the doctors refused to fake a medical report for one of the policemen. It also decided to refer Emad to a disciplinary committee and demanded that he be sacked for failing to protect and ensure the safety of doctors, among other decisions.
Emad, who said he can only be questioned by the parliament, seemed to be mostly concerned about the decision to provide free medical services through public hospitals.
"According to the law and constitution, the money that the citizens pay in public hospitals to receive treatment goes directly to the state treasury, or used as funds allocated to improve services or as bonuses for doctors," said Emad, as he commented for the first time on the decisions in a TV interview with the privately-owned CBC.
"I see that the decisions taken by the general assembly are inconsiderate to the state," he added.
When asked why there isn't any kind of communication between the health ministry and the Doctors Syndicate, the minister invited the syndicate's council for talks with the government.
"The health ministry and the Doctors Syndicate both have a mutual interest, which is the interest of the doctors," said Emad, who stressed he has already been communicating with syndicate members.
On the alleged assault on doctors, Emad said that attacks on hospitals have been on the rise since 2011.
He assured that he has called for an investigation into the incident, and is also seeking to instigate better security measures to provide a safer working environment for doctors at hospitals.
"ln cooperation with the interior ministry, there will be a security checkpoint inside each hospital," Emad revealed.
"Since the incident I have been working on action plans. I have been in touch with the interior minister, the prosecutor general and also the prime minister."