Doctors warn against privatization of public hospitals

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AMMAN — Doctors have warned in the press that privatizing public hospitals will incur huge losses and will lead to migration of medical practitioners from the kingdom.اضافة اعلان

According to reports, medical practitioners said that privatizing health care has been carried out in many countries all over the world and in each case it has served to benefit private capital at the expense of the public health care system.

Zaid Hamza, the former minister of Health, said that the privatization of the Ministry of Health began in the eighties and nineties of the last century, and said that privatization is the intention of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund.

Speaking to Jordan News, Muhammad Rasoul al-Tarawneh, the acting head of the Jordanian Doctors Syndicate, is vehemently opposed to privatizing the medical sector, “I have not heard of any intention to privatize the medical sector.”

Tarawneh denounced what he called the "vicious attacks" aimed at the medical sector that occur after "any suspicion of a medical mistake”.

The acting head stressed that the medical sector places the life of the citizens as top priority, and that the medical sector in the country enjoys a distinguished reputation that it has gained due to many achievements over many years.

Tarawneh pointed out that the health system is facing challenges, most notably the increase in the size of the population compounded by the influx of refugees, in addition to the challenges they faced as a result of the pandemic.

The loss of medical practitioners to migration, the brain drain, is one of the challenges facing the sector in the country, but it also shows that Jordanian medical practitioners are in demand in various countries all over the world. 

Tarawneh stressed that there is a need to review the salary scales for medical practitioners, which is the primary reason for the brain drain. "It is not reasonable for a doctor to study for about 12 years and then be employed with a salary of JD650," he said.

President of the Private Hospitals Association, Fawzi Hammouri, said that he hopes to end this attack against the medical sector. “The government must stop this negative campaign that damages our health care system’s reputation,” Hammouri said. He added that medical mistakes happen everywhere, but they do not encounter the same “fierce” media coverage as they do in Jordan. “What is happening is unacceptable,” he added.

“Unfortunately, there is a systematic attack against the Jordanian health care sector across all its components,” Hammouri said.

The attacks damage the sector’s reputation which affects the national economy, Hammouri said. “It harms medical tourism, which is one of the most important achievements of Jordan. It is one of the most important sources of national income,” he said.

As for the integrative relationship between the public and the private sectors, Hammouri stressed that the private sector is a partner with the public sector.

Hammouri denied that there is any intention to privatize the public sector, as far as he knows.

“The private sector has very good competencies that can be used to strengthen the public sector,” Hammouri said. He said that the private sector has 67 private hospitals with 35,000 employees.

Referring to the recent deaths due to suspected medical errors in Jordan, Hammouri said: “Cases that occurred in Al-Bashir Hospital can happen in any hospital if the treating doctor does not have the necessary competence and experience.” 

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