The Doctors Syndicate general assembly voted Friday to approve a set of demands including the referral of Minister of Health Ahmed Emad El-Din to a disciplinary committee and has called for his dismissal from the cabinet.
The general assembly accused Emad El-Din of being unable to defend the rights of medical practitioners.
The assembly also approved demands that called for the provision of free medical care in public hospitals, the closure of any hospital that is subject to an attack, and the rejection of the health insurance bill. They also demanded that the parliament to issue a new law that protects doctors from assault. The assembly stated that if their demands are not met within two weeks, doctors will institute a partial strike.
The demands came as thousands gathered in downtown Cairo Friday to attend the Doctors Syndicate’s general assembly.
The general assembly, held at the syndicate’s headquarters, was scheduled after a group of officers assaulted two doctors working at Al-Matariya hospital. In what is being called a “historic” turnout, 4,000 doctors form across Egypt attended the assembly to vote on a general strike and other measures in response to injustices the profession has suffered.
Their stand against attacks on medical staff garnered solidarity from other syndicates, public figures, and doctors. According to an official statement by the syndicate on Friday, the assembly was a “massive gathering” which included other syndicates members and parliamentary members.
Attendees to the assembly decried police abuse, calling them “bullies”, and held posters that demanded the immediate trial of those who had assaulted the Al-Matariya doctors. Others posters demanded the release of Taher Mokhtar, Ahmed Saeed, and Ibrahim Al-Yamani, doctors who were arrested on political charges.
During the assembly, Hussein Khairy, the syndicate chief, called for measure action, emphasising the need to ensure patient well-being while also defending the rights of those in the medical profession. “We must balance our decisions so that they go against the wrongdoers not the patients or citizens […] Our main aim now is referring the officers to trial and protecting doctors from assault,” Khairy stated.
The East Cairo prosecutor’s office released Thursday nine officers who had been accused of assaulting the Al-Matariya doctors. Their release came one day after their referral to investigation. The police officers have denied committing the assault.
Their release provoked angry responses from the Doctors Syndicate. On her Facebook account, Mona Mina, the syndicate secretary general, wrote that the decision was illogical and seems to be an action taken by the state to deliberately enrage the syndicate and its members.
Mina stated that the state’s actions auger a long struggle for the rights of doctors. “This means we have a long way to go even after the assembly is over,” she wrote in the same Facebook post.
Ahead of the general assembly, Khairy and Mina were both summoned to the General Prosecutor’s office regarding the syndicate’s contention that police assaulted two doctors working in Al-Matariya hospital.