The joint committee in charge of implementing the increase in the doctors’ compensation for being at risk of contracting an infection will hold its first meeting on Wednesday.
The State Council’s administrative court ratified in June the decision to raise the allowance to EGP 1,000 instead of EGP 19, after the cabinet had appealed the initial verdict.
Hany Mehany, Doctors Syndicate board member, told Daily News Egypt that the Wednesday meeting will discuss implementation mechanisms for the raise. The court verdict stipulates that the raise be issued retrospectively.
The decision did not come into effect until September. This postponement has provoked the syndicate to respond in many ways: sending official letters, staging protests, filing a lawsuit against the cabinet, and recently sending a delegation to meet with cabinet representatives.
The lawsuit is still ongoing, regardless of the Wednesday meeting, Mehany said. The syndicate deems these legal efforts to ensure in-practice raise of the allowance as essential.
The cabinet has said, time and time again, that the reason behind this delay is the insufficient healthcare budget.
“I repeat that we understand there are ongoing financial hardships, but we are also aware that the government allocates its available resources according to its priorities,” Ihab Al-Taher, another syndicate board member, said last week.
He also said that as it is a court decision, it should be implemented regardless.
In the meeting held between the cabinet and the Doctors Syndicate on Thursday, the latter suggested using other financial resources of the annual budget for the construction of hospitals. According to the syndicate, every year a huge amount of money, initially allocated for this construction, is returned back to the Finance Ministry due to delays from the contractor’s side.
The syndicate also highlighted that EGP 19 is too low compared to allowances given to civil servants of other sectors.
The meeting also brought together representatives from the Dentistry Syndicate and the head of the parliament’s Health Committee, Magdy Morshed.
During the meeting, all parties agreed to form a joint committee which would include representatives from the cabinet, the ministries of health and finance, and from the doctors and dentistry syndicates.
The committee is mandated to outline the strategy for implementation, aggregate the number of beneficiaries, and the potential funding resources.
Over the past three years, at least six doctors have died and dozens others left with long-lasting issues after contracting an infection in their line of work, according to the syndicate census.
A trainee at El-Demerdash public hospital, M. A., told Daily News Egypt on Tuesday that the raise in the infections compensation is indispensable. The chances of contracting an infection are high but treatment is very costly, the trainee said. “We are at risk of getting Hepatitis C, even from a small prick.”