The Ministry of Health announced in an official statement Monday that the Doctors Syndicate had not implemented a decision to provide free health care.
The Ministry of Health considers the syndicate’s decision to be a violation of the Egyptian Constitution of 2014.
While the ministry stated that it had not detected a violation, referring to the implementation of the decision, the Doctors Syndicate claims that Monday is the second day of the decision’s implementation.
Work inside all hospitals was not affected by the syndicate’s call to start implementing this decision, and the number of visiting patients was not affected, the Ministry of Health’s statement read.
At least 308,000 citizens were admitted to 514 hospitals across Egypt,, which is about 80% of the normal number of visiting patients per day, according to ministry spokesman Khaled Megahed.
Megahed further highlighted Article 74 of the Doctors Syndicate Law 45/1996 which states that no authority is allowed to refer a doctor for investigations unless she has committed a professional error.
The decision was initiated after the syndicate’s general assembly in mid-February, which followed by an attack by security forces on two doctors at Al-Matariya hospital. The decision came into effect Saturday but the Ministry of Health denied its implementation in any hospitals.
However, the syndicate listed 11 hospitals which it contends have implemented the decision, including Shubra, Dar El-Salam, Imbaba. The rate of participation among hospitals was listed at 80% in Damietta, 75% in Luxor, 80% in Sohag, 80% in Menufiya, 50% in Daqahleya, 40% in Sharqeya, and 60% in Assiut.
The syndicate voted on the decision amid purported media claims that doctors strike would leave underprivileged patients without medical care. However, the syndicate reiterated that the reasoning behind their intended strike was to stand by their assaulted colleagues from Al-Matariya hospital.
According to Doctors Syndicate secretary general Mona Mina, the decision does not include the cost of a check-up; the additional money doctors require from patients in cases of emergency often reaches EGP 5,000. The normal cost of a check-up at public hospitals is just EGP 5.
The Health Ministry warned that doctors who provide medical treatment free of charge will be in violation of the constitution. However, the ministry was referring to the normal price of check-ups and not the cost that many doctors charge patients in sev