By: Nourhan Dakroury
The Doctors’ Syndicate presented a new security enforcement plan for hospitals during a press conference on Sunday.
Members of the syndicate also discussed the need for a law enforcing harsher punishment for anyone who commits acts of aggression against doctors and hospitals.
Gamal Abdel Salam, the syndicate’s secretary-general, said that he puts full blame on the Shura Council for not discussing the law concerning assaults against doctors and medical facilities.
Abdel Salam stated that any hospital which isn’t properly secured will be closed.
Khairy Abdel Dayem, the chairman of the Doctors’ Syndicate and member of the Shura Council, said that a significant reason for the crisis in hospitals’ lack of security is the low budget.
Abdel Dayem said that next year’s budget for all health institutions in Cairo for will be less than this year’s, meaning that hospitals will not be able to afford to upgrade their security systems.
“We already work under tough circumstances,” Abdel Salam said.
“We don’t have enough medicine or blood to treat patients, but having to work at gunpoint is completely unacceptable,” he added.
Abdel Salam said that the syndicate never supported strikes, but if aggressions and attacks on hospitals and doctors keep occurring, doctors will strike and hospitals will close until security improves.
Qasr Al-Eini Hospital is an example of what a strike would be like, after the hospital’s Emergency Room refused to accept patients for two days, according to Sarah Shahin, a doctor at the hospital.
The ER stopped accepting patients after a doctor was attacked on Friday night and beaten by a person accompanying one of the patients, said Shahin.
When she contacted the security personnel at the hospital they said that they’re only responsible for protecting the building, not the people, she claimed. After the police was contacted, security forces accompanied the aggressor outside of the hospital, but the case was not reported, she added.
She said that they need to see more cooperation from security forces that should also start doing their jobs properly.
“We don’t feel safe walking in the hallways of the hospital after midnight,” she said, adding that security personnel don’t search people accompanying patients, allowing them to enter the hospital with weapons and even drugs.
The dean of Cairo University’s Faculty of Medicine, the Manager of the Emergency Hospital and the General Manager of Hospitals met with representatives from the Ministry of Interior on Saturday and came up with a modified security enforcement plan for hospitals.
The plan includes an endorsement of police forces and weapons, denial of entrance of more than two accompanying people per patient and prioritisation of the protection of people in the hospitals, rather than property.
According to the plan, failure to provide proper security will lead to not accepting patients at the hospital.