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‘Treat Kuwaiti, expat doctors equally’ – Several Kuwaiti doctors express objection to minister’s decision

KUWAIT CITY, April 12: Several Kuwaiti doctors have expressed objection to the decision of Health Minister Dr Jamal Al-Harbi to promote expatriate doctors upon completion of masteral or doctorate degrees while working in the ministry, reports Al-Rai daily.

The Kuwaiti doctors stressed the need to treat them and their expatriate counterparts equally; indicating the expatriate doctors receive hazard, infection and screening allowances. They pointed out that the ministry should invest in national manpower.

Al-Harbi’s decision includes promotion of an expatriate doctor who holds a doctorate degree and works in any of the technical health bodies after one year of obtaining the certificate and its accreditation. This doctor will be referred to the relevant technical committee which will then decide his career level and his promotion takes effect on the date the committee takes the decision.

The minister also cancelled ministerial decision number 187/ 2013 and issued another decision on revising the job titles of Kuwaiti doctors with doctorate degrees or equivalent qualifications such as fellowship from the date of obtaining the certificate and upon the relevant committee’s approval. The decision allows a surgeon to pass evaluation periods including the first evaluation period for three months in order to revise his job title with retroactive effect from the date of obtaining the certificate.

The second item of the decision states that if a Kuwaiti doctor continues his scholarship and the time for his promotion to specialist has come, the period of studying abroad is considered part of the required period for promotion — three years minimum followed by another three years after obtaining a doctorate degree or its equivalent.

Commenting on the decision, endocrine and diabetes specialist at Mubarak Al-Kabeer Hospital Dr Anwar Ya’aqoub Hayati admitted he was surprised when he heard about the decision as it would have been more appropriate to encourage Kuwaiti doctors who suffer abuse. Oral and maxillofacial specialist Dr Othman Meshal Al-Othman said the decision means that expatriate doctors can obtain higher education certificates from other countries while working in the ministry and some of these certificates might be fake yet they will be promoted to higher posts. He also called for equal treatment of Kuwaiti and expatriate doctors.

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