Akdağ responds to questions on foreign docs

Akdağ responds to questions on foreign docs

ISTANBUL- Hürriyet Daily News
Akdağ responds to questions on foreign docs

Health Minister Recep Akdağ says Turkey needs more doctors, specialists. AA photo

Foreign medics will be placed in private hospitals at first and not in state hospitals, said Health Minister Recep Akdağ.

A statutory decree issued Oct. 2, just before the government’s six-month legislative mandate was to expire, permitted the employment of foreign doctors and nurses in Turkey despite widespread opposition to the idea.

Health Minister Recep Akdağ said knowing the Turkish language and having a degree equivalent to Turkish university standards would be pre-conditions for foreign medics to work in Turkish hospitals.

Akdağ said around 3,000 foreign medics who graduated from Turkish universities will be the first series of doctors to work in hospitals. “This can also be beneficial for our neighbor who is in crisis right now. Greek doctors who speak Turkish should be seeking to come here,” Akdağ said in an interview with daily Vatan.

The government’s statutory decree that opened the door to the employment of foreign medics in Turkey prompted harsh objections from the opposition and medical associations on grounds of diminishing the quality of the health care. Critics said the decree paved the way for “cheap labor” in the health sector.

Akdağ rejected the critics who defined the foreign medics as “imported doctors.” Akdağ defended the idea of having foreign medics by giving some statistics: “In Europe, there are 340 doctors for every 100,000 people. However in Turkey this figure is 156 doctors for every 100,000 people. No matter how much you try to make the system better, the time for treating a patient has increased from four and a half minutes to only nine minutes. This time should rise to 20 minutes,” Akdağ said.