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Better Deal for Doctors
People

Better Deal for Doctors

The president of the Islamic Republic of Iran Medical Council (IRIMC) Alireza Zali, recently had said “physicians are either underemployed or paid low salaries.”
Low pay - an average of $250 per month - especially for general practitioners and pediatricians is the chief concern of the medical profession, other than job security, he had stated.
“The fraternity is demanding better pay, especially for doctors working in underprivileged areas, tax exemptions and low interest loans to build offices and clinics,” he also pointed out.
Being a physician was the top choice for college applicants for decades. But the change in preference became apparent as several problems surfaced in the medical profession. There are between 8,000 and 12,000 unemployed doctors, many of them young graduates, who have turned to other occupations for their livelihood, according to a report by Iran newspaper.

 Pay Hike
However more recently, the deputy for resources management at the ministry of health announced that the salary of nurses would increase by up to 40% and a significant hike in the salary of General Practitioners (GPs) would follow suit. Iraj Harirchi, said with the new hike in salaries, doctors in underprivileged areas would now earn up to $3,300 per month. The measures were aimed to encourage more doctors to work in remote areas, he said, according to a report by IRINN.
Harirchi also announced plans to recruit new medical professionals holding an associate degree.
In another announcement, the health deputy at the Social Security Organization (SSO) said there would be an 80% increase in the salary of physicians working for SSO from the next calendar year (March 21, 2015). Mohammad Ali Hemmati told IRNA that one of their concerns is to ensure medicos stay in remote areas and hiking salary is the first incentive to encourage them to stay in disadvantaged areas.
Hemmati said “currently, 6,473 GPs, specialists, and surgeons along with 12,000 nurses and 200 midwives are providing healthcare at 351 SSO health centers across the country.”
He also announced that for the first time “more than $ 110 million has been allocated to ensure stability in prices of medicines.”

 Incentives
So far this year (started March 21), 3,300 specialists have been dispatched to underprivileged and remote areas. The number is expected to increase to 5,000 by the end of the calendar year. According to a report on the official website of the ministry of health, a comprehensive program promoting the permanent deployment of doctors to far-flung areas is now in place as part of a larger plan to enhance health facilities in these areas. Bonus payments are also part of the incentives for rural doctors.
 Meanwhile, it may be recalled, Zali had also described the doctors’ predicament “as a serious challenge” facing the healthcare system. ‘’A person trained in the medical profession is not tapping his or her full potential because of limitations. Under the circumstances, physicians will have to work for 10 years before they can open their own clinics.”
 Reforms
The plight of the medical fraternity drew the attention of both the Majlis and government. Certain medical services are now being evaluated to bridge the gap between different medical sectors. The Majlis is also deliberating ways to introduce new reforms.
Majlis Speaker Ali Larijani addressing the general assembly of IRIMC had earlier noted ‘’we shouldn’t be misled by a few cases of highly-paid doctors; many of the nation’s doctors are still struggling to make ends meet.’’

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