Egypt doctors to stage partial strike on Monday

Ahram Online , Monday 3 Feb 2014

Egyptian doctors will strike for the third time this year to demand health care reforms and higher pay, further strikes planned during February

Doctors demonstrating at the medical syndicate in March 2013 (Photo: Mai Shaheen)

Doctors at public hospitals will hold a partial strike on Monday to call for health care reforms and better pay.

The strike, which excludes emergency services, is the third such workplace action this year.

Doctors and pharmacists held partial strikes on 1 and 8 January.

Their key demands are reforms to the health care system, an increase in health spending and a rise in the minimum wage for doctors.

Doctors say the government has done little to meet their longstanding demands or improve health care in the country since the 2011 uprising.

There will be further strikes every Monday and Wednesday during February with a plan for escalation if our demands are not met, Khairy Abdel-Dayem, head of the 69,000-member independent doctors syndicate, said on Sunday.

Ahmed Hussein, a doctor at Al Abassiya hospital for mental health and General Syndicate member, told Ahram Online doctors are frustrated because the government ignores their demands.

“The government made no response to the doctors’ demands,” Hussein said. “Currently we are counting the numbers of the doctors who will participate today, and we expect an increase in participants as the day progresses.”

In response, the health ministry has cancelled staff holidays and set up a hotline to deal with complaints, state news agency MENA reported.

Doctors have gone on strike more than once since the overthrow of autocrat Hosni Mubarak in February 2011.

The first nationwide doctors strike took place in May 2011, covering most public and several university hospitals. Their demands included raising the national health budget from 3.5 to 15 percent of the state budget and a higher minimum wage.

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