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Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Doctors, medical staff outraged over sudden suspension of yearly raise

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Doctors and administrators at the Primary Health Care Centre were shocked to find out that their annual raises were being stopped.

Doctors and administrators at the Primary Health Care Corporation (PHCC) in Qatar were left shocked on Thursday after receiving emails announcing the end of annual raises.

Increase in salaries are part of Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) policy, which stipulates raises based on a doctor’s job grade and their annual evaluation, as well as the application of the Governmental Human Resources Law.

Now, health care workers are set to receive a fixed annual increase of just QAR 800. This change is also in retroactive effect from April 2021, which means that doctors who received their raises from April will have all previous raise amounts deducted from this date.

Those affected by the decision were shocked to have received this news via their emails after work hours, and especially without warning. Doctors and administration staff are now urging Qatar’s health ministry to reconsider the decision given the difficult nature of their work and the pressure of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Many took to Twitter to voice their opinions, calling the decision unfair to a health sector that has been the backbone of society since the outbreak of the pandemic last March.

One Twitter user said: “At a time when we suffer from a shortage of medical staff in Qatar, and despite the crucial role of doctors in limiting the spread of the Corona pandemic, instead of rewarding and thanking doctors, their salaries are reduced!!! We do not understand what the strategy and purpose of this is?!”

Another tweeted, in reference to the Covid-19 pandemic, that “the medical staff of Qatar has worked for two years to serve the community, even outside their official working hours..don’t they deserve to be honoured and rewarded?”

Read also: PCOS: All you need to know

One tweet even drew a comparison between doctors and influencers, pointing towards the  annual Najah Qatari event being held this weekend in which personalities, organisations and influential figures are being  awarded for their work.

Many found it ‘nonsensical’ that influencers in Qatar were being lauded instead of doctors, teachers, or engineers.

“Honour those who memorise Quran, Qatari doctors, engineers, teachers and educators, those who raise our youth #NajahQatari” said one tweet.

This is the second such decision to anger crucial frontline workers amid the ongoing pandemic.

In March of this year, hundreds of essential workers signed a petition demanding a review of a PHCC decision to change staff working hours.

The decision to amend the hours for medical staff came as a response to an audit carried out by the Ministry of Public Health which had reservations over the amount of overtime hours being claimed by PHCC clinics.

MoPH auditors claimed the PHCC management was claiming overtime for staff across its clinics that shouldn’t have been made, citing contractual obligations for medical workers to work 40 hour weeks.

More than 800 physicians signed the petition asking the corporation to reconsider the move given the already existing pressure on doctors and other staff members.

“Persistent and ongoing changes to work and conditions, like reduction in allowances, holding off ticket encashments for unexplained reasons, suspension of annual leave twice during the pandemic, despite having sufficient clinical staff to manage the crisis,” the petition said, listing numerous concerns.


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