CAIRO: Doctors, pharmacists, and dentists currently on strike will resort to mass resignation if their demands are not implemented by the beginning of April, a doctor in the Doctors’ Syndicate told The Cairo Post on Thursday.
Sahar Hussein, a member of the Doctors’ Syndicate and a doctor at New Cairo Hospital, told The Cairo Post that they are not thinking of conducting a full strike at the moment, adding that if they are going to implement any escalatory measures it will be after March. The decision reflects general assembly’s declaration that the current strike would conclude at the end of March.
Head of the Supreme Committee for the Doctors’ Strike Ahmed Shosa announced during a Feb. 26 press conference that the syndicate would initiate a partial strike on March 8 if their demands had not been met.
“In order to take any escalatory measures, we must wait until the end of the month,” said Hussein. He added that a general assembly would need to be formed in order to determine the next move, and that a protocol for mass resignation has been presented and will be discussed.
The doctors’ protests aim to strengthen negotiations currently ongoing between the doctors and the government. “We have been negotiating for a year and have not reached anything,” said Hussein.
According to Youm7, the Supreme Committee for Doctors’ Strike will organize a joint march to include pharmacists, doctors and dentists from Dar al-Hekma to the Cabinet on March 18 that will demand the implementation of the employees’ cadre (salary bill) instead of the incentives law that was adopted by the former Minister of Health Maha Rabat.
The Supreme Committee for Doctors’ Strikes decided on Thursday to open hospital pharmacies for monthly treatment and medicines at the state’s expense, according to a press statement.
“Opening hospital pharmacies has nothing to do with adjourning the strike, we do that for poor people who [need medicine] every month and one of our demands is to increase the budget for these poor people and increase the efficiency of medical service,” Hussein added.
The committee has allocated Mondays and Thursdays for patients’ monthly medicine services.
The pharmacists, physicians and dentists continued on Thursday their partial strike in hospitals and institutions affiliated with the Ministry of Health for the sixth day in a row, in opposition to the adoption of an incentives law instead of the cadre, reported Youm7.
The strike includes all hospitals and institutions under the Ministry of Health, such as educational, general, and central hospitals, as well as non-emergency operations. The strike did not include hospitals for police and armed forces or children’s hospitals and emergency care.
Minister of Health Adel al-Adawy formed a negotiating committee, which includes representatives from the ministry and medical syndicates, on March 10 to study doctors’ demands with the aim of ending the Doctors’ Syndicate strike. The second meeting was held on Wednesday.
Sources in the committee told Youm7 on Wednesday that they agreed during the first meeting held last Monday to amend some articles of the cadre law, particularly the articles related to the financial and administrative points in the law.
More than 100,000 doctors, pharmacists, and veterinarians have taken part in a partial strike in public hospitals since January 2014. The strike was suspended for short periods, but resumed on Feb. 12 and was scheduled to conclude by the end of February. But, once again, doctors resumed the partial strike on March 8 when their demands remained unrecognized.
Former Minister of Health Maha Rabat was replaced last month by new minister Adawy, but participants in the strike have remained persistent despite the shuffle in ministry leadership.
Adawy visited medical organizations and establishments in early March, and during his visit he stated that the government is studying the possibility of amending the law regarding medical professionals’ salaries.