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Medical doctors association decries ‘exploitative’ residency system 

By Maram Kayed - Jul 11,2020 - Last updated at Jul 11,2020

AMMAN — Hundreds of residency doctors are complaining about being “forced by hospitals in the public and private sectors to work free of charge in order to have a shot at being hired”, as put by former president of the Jordanian Medical Doctors Association Ahmad Armouti.

Armouti made his remarks amidst an ongoing campaign launched online by young doctors who claim that the residency system is “exploiting” them.

“I come from Irbid every day to work 24 to 36 hour shifts and get paid nothing all in hope of perhaps being given a job with a salary that starts at JD300. More than seven years of my life studying and now one or two more under this spirit-crushing system,” said Rahmeh Kurdi, a recently graduated medical doctor who now spends her residential stay at the University of Jordan.

Armouti said that the Ministry of Health needs to "mandate that hospitals pay a monthly salary to residential doctors instead of asking for recently graduated doctors to pay financial sums in order to obtain a seat on the hospital’s board”.

Calling the residential system "double exploitation of the intern", Armouti pointed out that the vast majority of doctors do get paid in exchange for their work and effort, which amounts to at least 100 hours per week, while the hospital responsible for their training is paid JD3,000 annually.

Armouti stressed that the residential system is “not consistent with the Labour and Workers Law or the Civil Service System", noting that this system “exploits the doctor once again because the hospital in which he trains is not obligated to appoint him or her as an employee”.

Following up with patients, in addition to bearing legal responsibility in case of a medical error, must be “rewarded with at least a monthly salary that helps a recently graduated doctor who has spent the past five to six years studying.”

The National Campaign for Justice in Health Care, “Our Health is Our Right”, also recently criticised the residency system after the Ministry of Health announced a programme in the field of dermatology and reproductive medicine that upset the medical community.

The campaign pointed out that the programme “demanded unprecedented requirements for admission”, such as the completion of at least one year in a local vocational residency training programme, provided that the residency is at the expense of the applicant for a fee of JD3000 annually.

“At a time when young doctors are active in amending the unpaid residency system in all we support them in their just demand to abolish the system,” the campaign added.

“Residency programmes combine daily work, periodic burdensome shifts in addition to theoretical education for four to six continuous years, as a minimum, and so work without pay is rejected in principle, because it is a form of forced labour," the campaign said.


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