Physicians begin three-day strike across Turkey
CİHAN PhotoPrimary care physicians across the country began a three-day strike May 20 against working on weekends, which the Health Ministry had made obligatory earlier this year.
The Turkish Medical Association (TTB) announced on May 20 that the three-day-long strike against the Health Ministry’s pressure and threat to fire their employees over missing mandatory weekend shifts had started across the country with the attendance of primary care physicians.
It stated the Health Ministry’s imposition on primary care physicians, including family physicians, to work on Saturdays in addition to the obligatory working schedule of 40 hours a week and the ministry increasing the penalty points given to doctors who did not work Saturday shifts in protest of the decision had led to the around 70,000 healthcare professionals going on a strike.
With a circular issued April 9, 2014, the Health Ministry obliged family physicians to work eight hours on Saturdays, which took effect as of Jan. 3, 2015, but the doctors rejected working on weekends. As such, provincial public health directorates started launching investigations into physicians who did not show up for their Saturday shifts, within the scope of the “regulation on the payments and contracts of family physicians.”
But the ministry, who found the five penalty points given to doctors who do not show up to be too little, increased the penalty points to 20 on April 16.
With this change, some doctors face losing their contracts due to a high cumulative number of penalty points if their defenses are not accepted.