File photo: Egyptian doctors receive patients at the infectious diseases unit of the Imbaba hospital in the capital Cairo. AFP
Throughout the year, 4,361 government-employed doctors submitted their resignations, at a rate of 13.5 per working day, Dr. Ahmed Ali, member of the Medical Syndicate Council, said in the statement.
The number of resignation in 2022 represents a 3.2 percent increase compared to 2021, in which 4,127 doctors resigned.
However, the total number of resignation in 2022 does not reflect the full scale of the problem, said Ahmed Hussien, the syndicate’s media rapporteur, who indicated that the actual number of doctors leaving public health sector “is much higher.”
“Nearly 2,000 recently graduated doctors [intern doctors] have not received [the mandatory] work in the government sector and the Ministry of Health has not granted them termination decisions yet. Hence, they were unable to obtain a ‘free doctor’ certificate from the Medical Syndicate,” Hussien said.
In October 2022, the syndicate said that 11,536 doctors resigned from the Egyptian public health sector from 2019 through March 2022.
Hussien cited low wages, the absence of a just law for medical liability, poor work environment, obstacles to licensing private medical facilities and the negative portrayal of doctors in some media outlets as the main drivers of doctors’ reluctance to work in the government health sector.
In recent decades, Egyptian doctors have faced increasing financial difficulties due to low pay as well as an increasing workload amid population growth, causing the number who seek work abroad to steadily increase.
In a report recently issued by the British General Medical Council (GMC), Egyptian doctors ranked among the top five “joiner doctors” who joined the UK medical workforce in 2021, with 1,312 joining in that year alone.
In the report, the GMC – a UK public body responsible for maintaining the official register of medical practitioners – said the number of Egyptian doctors who joined the UK medical workforce increased from 435 in 2017 to 765 in 2018, before increasing by almost 200 percent to 1,301 in 2019 and 1,220 in 2020.
In April 2022, the syndicate called on Minister of Finance Mohamed Maait to tackle the problem of the intern doctors’ “low” salaries.
The government has responded by increasing spending on the health sector to EGP 128 billion for FY2022/23, up from EGP 108 billion in FY2021/22 – an 18.5 percent increase.
Last August, President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi instructed the government to offer financial incentives to medical staff to improve their work conditions and raise their incomes.