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Lying Vacant at Health Ministry Facilities

Over 2,350 posts are lying vacant at the facilities in all seven emirates, Minister of State for Financial Affairs Obaid Humaid Al Tayer has said.

Addressing the Federal National Council FNC session here on Wednesday, he said sufficient budget for these posts had already been allocated, and “we are working to bring in a new pay scale increasing the salaries of the staff at the ministry”.

Reacting to the minister’s statement, council member Abdul Raheem Shaheen said, “The posts the minister spoke about are at the junior level with low salaries. That is why they are lying vacant.”

Elaborating, Shaheen said, “The Ministry of Health is suffering from two problems. The first is the high attrition rate among medical staff as a result of low salaries. A doctor in an government health facility draws an average monthly salary of Dh70,000 and a Dubai government doctor Dh50,000, but in the Ministry of Health, their counterpart gets only Dh13,000.”

The second problem, according to him, is the shortage of medical equipment, food and medicines in the hospitals of the ministry. The ministry is bearing the brunt because its budget has not been increased over the last two years. He said the budget for the ministry for 2010 has also not been increased. This will affect the health situation in the Northern Emirates badly. The number of deaths in these emirates might reach hundreds.

Painting bleak picture of the health facilities in the Northern Emirates, he said many patients would prefer to go to Abu Dhabi and Dubai hospitals.

In reply to Shaheen’s remarks, Al Tayer said, “The fact that 2,350 posts are lying vacant at the ministry has prompted us not to list new posts in the new budget.

“We have allocated Dh867 million for medicines, and the amount is sufficient, and in case the ministry requests additional funds, we will put forward its plea to the cabinet for action.”

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