Egypt's Mansour issues presidential decree to regulate doctors' affairs

Mariam Rizk, Ahram Online, Thursday 6 Feb 2014

Health ministry says decree offers higher salaries that doctors have long demanded; union to decide after they look at decree

Adly mansour
Egypt's interim President Adly Mansour (Photo: AP)

Egypt's interim President Adly Mansour issued a decree on Thursday regulating the status of health care providers working in state hospitals and institutions.

A spokesman for the health ministry said that the decree offers the system of higher salaries that doctors have long asked for.

Rashwan Shaban, a member of the Egyptian Doctors' Syndicate, told Ahram Online that the system announced by President Mansour means bonuses added to the salaries which have already been rejected by the union.

Doctors have been conducting one-day strikes in past weeks to pressure the interim government to reform their pay system and increase spending on health care.

"Our general assembly will meet Friday and decide on whether we will continue to use the strike action to achieve our goals," Shaban said. 

"What we ask for is an increase in the basic salary which will consequently increase the pension," he added.

Health Minister Maha El-Rabat told Al-Ahram's Arabic news website that the presidential decree will be implemented with the doctors being paid higher salaries starting the current month of February.

El-Rabat added that a fund of LE6 billion ($ 862m) has been set aside to be cashed out to health care providers and that the new system of salaries will be implemented within two financial years.

Head of Doctors' Syndicate Khairy Abdel-Dayem said that although he was delighted with the presidential decree, and that the long-awaited pay scale will help soothe the doctor's turbulent situation, the ruling in its current form does not satisfy all the doctors' demands, Al-Ahram reported.

Still, he described the newly-issued decree as one of the revolution's "victories" and "gains," given Egypt's current economic difficulties. 

Meanwhile, Mona Mina, the Secretary General of the Doctors' Syndicate, told Ahram Online that the union has not received a formal copy of the decree yet, and that the general assembly meeting Friday will thoroughly discuss the particulars of the decree.

"Our position hinges on the fine details of the decree," Mina said. 

Mina explained that, for example, if the new system gurrantees full payment by employers of doctors' post-graduate studies, then the syndicate will be satisfied.

"We had earlier received multiple drafts and registered our objections. I just hope the final draft would tackle these issues," she added.The syndicate's general assembly meeting on Friday, which will decide on the continuation of the partial strike, should garner a positive reaction from member doctors, he said.


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