Turkish Cypriot doctors are up in arms because reportedly, a number Turkish doctors coming from the mainland for two months, are being paid more than double the salaries of local doctors.
In a report written by Turkish Cypriot journalist Funda Gumush for Cyprus Weekly, eight new Turkish doctors will be paid around 2,500 euros a month.
Head of the Medical Association, Dr Filiz Besim commenting on the issue, said that the North was desperately short of doctors in certain departments. She noted that was especially for the case for emergency units. However, the issue here was not about employing the doctors, but their salaries.
Local doctors are paid just over 1,000 euros a month compared to the 2,500 euros the temporary doctors would be paid. It is believed that they would be receiving subsistence as well as other benefits.
“If vacancies had been announced, with the same benefits, Turkish Cypriot doctors working abroad may have applied. However, it will be hard to find doctors to work for only 1,000 euros,” said Besim.
Head of the doctors’ union Sila Usar Incirli said doctors’ pay was a global issue and not one just for the North. “However, the real issue here is not the salaries the Turkish doctors will be getting, but the salaries the local ones are not,” she said.
Currently, the long-awaited oncology hospital is not yet opened in the North, Gumush writes. In addition to this, there are also no oncologists and many Turkish Cypriot patients seeking oncological treatment either cross to the south or go abroad.
The head of the health department, Faiz Sucuoglu, denied that the Turkish doctors were being given preferential treatment and said they would be using the Near East hospital transfer service and staying in their quarters.
Sucuoglu answering allegations that the vacancies had not been advertised locally, said there were no doctors on the island who specialised in the fields required.
“It is unfortunate, but I can be quite clear on this. If doctors from these disciplines exist, bring them in, as I will give them a job immediately. But there aren’t,” he stressed.
He pointed out that because of strong reactions from local doctors, one of the eight Turkish doctors had returned. Sucuoglu feared that others would follow if this kind of hostility towards them continued.
He emphasised that the Turkish doctors were only on the island for two months, noting that they would be left in the same situation, once they returned to Turkey.