Jordan Labor Watch report slams unpaid medical residencies

A Jordan Labor Watch report on Saturday criticized Jordan’s medical residency programs. (Photo: Jordan News)
A Jordan Labor Watch report on Saturday criticized Jordan’s medical residency programs. (Photo: Jordan News)
AMMAN — Jordan Labor Watch on Saturday issued a report on what it described as “violations” carried out against resident doctors in Jordanian hospitals, describing their treatment as working for “the benefit of others”.  اضافة اعلان

The report said that resident doctors are considered trainees, thus, leaving most of them unpaid. A few doctors get the minimum wage — JD260 — as part of the training and appointment program at the Ministry of Labor.

The paper listed what it called the harshest violations against resident doctors, including working up to 100 unpaid hours a week, exclusion from the social security program, pressure, and long shifts (sometimes reaching 38 consecutive hours). In addition, the resident doctors work weekends, eid holidays, official leaves, and maternal leaves.

Medical residents in Jordan started a social media campaign in early June calling for an end to the unpaid residency program.

Jordan News previously reported that they used the hashtags “my salary, my right,” “doctors not slaves,” and “you left us” to call for a change in the working conditions that they say endangered patients and drive qualified doctors out of the country.

The unpaid residencies “must be stopped immediately,” Ahmad Awad, director of the Phenix Center for Economics and Informatics Studies and Jordan Labor Watch, told Jordan News at the time. “The private sector always, if there is no accountability for them, would like to increase their profits,” he said.

The Labor Watch’s recent report attributed the violations to the various residency programs proposed by public and private hospitals, where some private medical institutions propose unpaid programs or paid programs with a monthly minimum wage. 

The report highlighted that the residency programs in Jordan are divided into paid and unpaid programs.

Other hospitals stipulate that doctors applying for residency program must pay an annual amount between 1,200 and JD3,000 because they are considered trainees.

The paper also pointed out that some graduate doctors do not find paid vacancies in hospitals, which leads them to apply to unpaid programs.

The available annual seats for residencies ranges between 1,100 and 1,200, while medical college graduates reach 2,500 annually, according to the report. Therefore, the paid positions cannot match the high number of graduates, leaving the unpaid programs their only option for them.

The report also indicated that 65 percent of resident doctors who work under the unpaid program work in medical services hospitals, 25 percent work at university affiliated hospitals, and 10 percent work at the Ministry of Health, while 5 percent work at private hospitals.

The medical council did not impose legislation or a special regulation to regulate the work of doctors in the residency program, which has attributed to their working conditions, the paper argued.

The report also stressed that the pressures endured by resident doctors, in addition to the legal responsibilities they must undertake for being on the front line on patients’ lives has led many of them to immigrate to seek better opportunities.

The report indicated that 34 percent of graduate doctors from the University of Jordan and the Jordan University for Science and Technology work in the US, Europe, and the Gulf among others, which has led to a shortage in specialized doctors. 

The report also said that there is a big difference between resident doctors in Jordan and their counterparts in other countries, such as the US Germany, UK, and Qatar, which respects and appreciates their work.

Therefore, the report underlined the importance of canceling the “unpaid” residency program, and putting an end to the immigration of medical staff.

Also, the report proposed that the Jordan Medical Board must issue a special system for resident doctors, providing them their rights, regulating their wages, working hours, leaves, in addition to defining the resident doctors’ positions as per their duties and missions.

It also recommended including resident doctors in the social security system, including the social security program and health insurance, and to improve labor legislation in a bid to curb violations and provide a proper work atmosphere.

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