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Egypt: Over 4000 doctors resigned in 2022 due to low wages, poor conditions

January 7, 2023 at 1:48 pm

Egyptian doctors stand in front of the General Hospital in Hurghada, Egypt. [Marco Di Lauro/Getty Images]

The statistics revealed by the Egyptian Medical Syndicate regarding the resignations of 4,621 doctors over the past year due to low wages and poor working conditions have sparked widespread controversy in Egypt.

MP Sahar Al-Bazar, head of the Foreign Relations Committee in the Egyptian Parliament, requested a briefing on the doctors’ resignations.

Al-Bazar explained in the briefing request that in 2016, doctors submitted about 1,044 resignations; in 2017, the number of those who resigned reached 2,549, and in 2018, 2,612 doctors resigned.

She continued that in 2019, the number reached 3,507; in 2020, 2,986 doctors resigned; and in 2021, 4,127 submitted their resignations.

The Egyptian Centre for the Right to Medicine warned of the continuation of the phenomenon of doctors working in the Ministry of Health hospitals emigrating.

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It called for the need to discuss this phenomenon that intensified five years ago. According to the Medical Syndicate, the number of doctors who resigned reached 4,261 in 2022, more than those who resigned in 2021, estimated at 4,127 doctors. The number of doctors registered with the General Syndicate is currently 230,000, including public, university, teaching or private hospitals.

The centre indicated that doctors’ resignations from government jobs are due to various reasons, including doctors’ economic situations and the loss of their rights amid difficult work relations.

It noted that 11,000 doctors emigrated abroad in the last five years for the same reasons, which pose a serious threat to health rights, as doctors are the backbone of achieving the right to health. The global average is 22 doctors for every 10,000 people, while there are only nine doctors for every 10,000 people in Egypt.

The centre stressed that the reason for doctors’ resignations is poor wages, which forces doctors to work in more than one hospital or look for an opportunity to travel, a significant shortage of hospital facilities in terms of medicines and medical supplies, a shortage of ICU beds, as well as incubators, dialysis machines and the lack of training programmes that promote learning and knowledge of developments in medicine. There is also a lack of medical liability laws protecting doctors in cases of medical negligence, which does not give them professional security.

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Among the reasons cited by the centre for the emigration of doctors is the constant attacks on medical teams by patients’ families due to the lack of hospital facilities.

The centre questioned whether officials intended to reform the healthcare system, warning that the surrounding countries offer doctors all the benefits to work for them, and there are 100,000 Egyptian doctors working abroad.

Dr Ahmed Ali, a member of the Egyptian Medical Syndicate and Legal Committee, said that the number of doctors who applied to the Syndicate in 2022 to terminate their service from the government healthcare sector and obtain an independent doctor’s license was a total of 5,261.

Dr Ali added: “This number of applicants with documents of their resignations from the government is the biggest in the past seven years. In 2016, the number was 1,044 doctors; in 2017, it was 2,549; 2,612 in 2018, 3,507 in 2019, 2,986 in 2020 and 4,127 in 2021.

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