Monday,23 October, 2017
Current issue | Issue 1281, (4 - 10 February 2016)
Monday,23 October, 2017
Issue 1281, (4 - 10 February 2016)

Ahram Weekly

Doctors threaten to strike

The Doctors Syndicate plans to increase pressure on the Ministry of Interior following an assault by policemen on doctors at a hospital, reports Mohamed Abdel-Baky

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Al-Ahram Weekly

Parliament has opened an investigation into the recent assault by policemen on two doctors in Al-Matariya Teaching Hospital in East Cairo.

At a meeting on Tuesday, Hussein Khairi, chairman of the Doctors Syndicate, presented to the speaker of parliament, Mohamed Abdel-Aal, complaints by doctors and their demands following the incident.

The syndicate decided to close the reception service at Al-Matariya Hospital where the incident took place. At an emergency meeting on Saturday, members said only patients already hospitalised will be treated.

The syndicate noted in a statement issued after the emergency meeting that all doctors were subject to its decision, irrespective of the hospital administration’s objections, and added that the general assembly will hold an urgent session on 12 February.

“All escalatory measures are being considered, even a partial strike, to protect the dignity of all doctors,” the statement said.

On Sunday the syndicate filed an official complaint with the country’s prosecutor-general, Nabil Sadek. Hours later, Sadek referred the complaint to East Cairo Prosecution for investigation.

Early on Thursday 28 January, a low-ranking policeman, Mohamed Radwan, who was in plainclothes at the time, went to the hospital with a facial cut. Radwan asked the doctor examining him to include fake injuries in the medical report, which the doctor refused.

According to the doctor’s official complaint submitted to the prosecutor, Radwan rallied several policemen to the hospital, then attacked the doctor and his colleagues before taking them to the police station where they were held and later released.

Before filing an official complaint, the doctors were informed by the prosecutor that the policemen had already filed a complaint accusing the doctors of attacking them.

Radwan claimed that he had received the injury while chasing a criminal and that he had spent more than an hour waiting in the emergency room before being treated. He added, in an interview with “Al-Ashera Masaa” TV talk show, that the doctors beat him after he shouted at them, demanding treatment while other doctors were sleeping.

The Ministry of Interior suspended eight policemen who were involved in the assault on the doctors. A group of senior officers also visited the hospital to apologise to the medical staff and the hospital head.

“I can see that there is an unnecessary escalation by the Doctors Syndicate. We have already taken steps to hold accountable whoever was responsible for the assault,” General Abu Bakr Abdel-Karim, spokesman at the ministry, said.

Abdel-Karim added that the ministry will cooperate fully with the East Cairo Prosecutor in the investigation and will not tolerate abuse of power by any police officer or violations of human rights.

However, Mona Mina, deputy chairman of the Doctors Syndicate, said the doctors at the hospital have demanded an official apology from the Ministry of Interior and that a letter of apology be published on the ministry’s official website and Facebook page.

“This is in addition to going to court. An apology does not mean that we will withdraw our complaint,” Mina said.

If the ministry does not meet the demands of the doctors, she said an escalation could include a strike at all hospitals across the country.

In July 2015, tension between the police and lawyers resulted in a one-day partial strike organised by the Lawyers Syndicate. The strike came after a policeman shot a lawyer in the hand, removing part of his middle finger.

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