Systematic Usurpation of salaries by Marfin Investment Group (Hygeia) in Turkey

Istanbul Chamber of Physicians made a press declaration in front of the hospital building onFebruary 7, 2011 to support our colleagues striking against the conditions ofthe physicians who have not received their salaries for months while working at JFK Hospital that owned by Şafak HospitalsGroup and Marfin Investment Group (HYGEIA) partnership and at the otherhospitals.

Prof. Dr. TanerGören, President of Istanbul Chamber of Physicians, Dr. Lale Tırtıl and Dr.Hasan Oğan, Istanbul Chamber of Physicians Executive Board Members, Dr. PelinTaşkıran, Coordinator of Istanbul Chamber of Physicians Private Practice Committee and Dr. Osman Öztürk, Turkish Medical Association Central Council Member joined the meeting besides a large number of physicians working at JFK and other hospitals.

Prof. Dr. TanerGören, President of Istanbul Chamber of Physicians, stated in his speech thatthe physicians practicing at JFK for the sake of patients have not been paidfor months.   Besides, he said that thesalaries of the physicians have been usurped by giving lame excuses; the moneyearned by these hospitals is being utilized for the investments into differentsectors and this is unethical.

Prof. Gören remarkedthat this problem occurred in consequence of Health Transformation Program thathad been sped up in 2002 by AKP (Justice and Development Party) government. Healso clarified that Turkish Medical Association and its largest chamber; Istanbul Chamber of Physicians will closely monitor the issue.

Dr. Osman Öztürk,Turkish Medical Association Central Council Member, added, “This is anhistorical moment. This is the first time in which health services aren’tprovided in private practice since 1980 military coup, in other words, after 30years. The physicians are striking by using their forces of production, becausethey can’t get paid.”

Dr. Öztürk remindedthat Şafak Hospitals Group has been sold to a Greek investor, to MarfinInvestment Group (Hygeia). He stated depending upon the information from themeeting with hospital administration that the salaries didn’t paid due to theselling of the Hospital or similar excuses. Dr. Öztürk said they have got noresult through the interviews both within the country and abroad.

Dr. Öztürkhighlighted that Ministry of Health has to come up with a solution immediatelyto this issue and added: “There is an Health Minister serving for eight yearsand all of the health workers of the country are on the streets. This is anindicator of the circumstances of health workers emerged in consequence ofHealth Transformation Program.  Not onlythe health workers, but also the entire people are aggrieved. Measles casesthat have not occurred for many years began to climb again; one of our citizensdied due to diphtheria recently; 2.5-mount-old baby starved to death. No wordfrom Minister of Health. We, Turkish Medical Association and Istanbul Chamber of Physicians will be persistent to track either the Minister of Health or the Health Transformation Program.

Istanbul Chamber of Physicians Executive Board Member Dr. Tırtıl, who red the press declaration, stated that Istanbul Chamber of Physicians will continue the struggle againstsystematic usurpation of salaries at private sector and they gathered todeclare their determination. She added: “We support our colleagues who couldnot receive their payments for months. The salaries that they deserved have notbeen paid despite the meetings held with hospital administration for threemonths. The physicians have kept their promises and treated their patientsmeticulously. However, JFK hospital has broken its promise and has not paid thesalaries. Today, the physicians working in JFK Hospitalare hopeless and angry. Most significant obstacle that prevents thesephysicians from conducting good medical practice at the hospital is unkeptpromises by hospital owners. Today, the physicians will not examine thepatients and will not perform surgeries worrying about not ensuring goodmedical practice. We want to call public attention to the hospital administrationthat behaves disrespectfully towards the physicians, doesn’t pays the salariesthey deserved.”

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