• =?UTF-8?Q?Turkey=E2=80=99s_Doctors_Are_Leaving=2C_the_Latest_Casualty_?

    From (David P.)@21:1/5 to All on Sat Feb 12 10:59:59 2022
    Turkey’s Doctors Are Leaving, the Latest Casualty of Spiraling Inflation
    By Carlotta Gall, Feb. 7, 2022, NYT

    ISTANBUL — Anxiety rose after an assistant doctor died
    last fall when she plowed her car into the back of a truck
    after a long shift.

    Then there were the growing cases of violence. An assistant
    doctor abandoned his career after a patient stabbed him in
    the stomach and hand. A pregnant nurse was hospitalized after
    being kicked in the belly.

    The worsening economy and soaring inflation, which has reduced
    some doctors’ salaries close to the level of the minimum wage,
    have brought many to a tipping point, driving them in growing
    numbers to search for better opportunities abroad.

    Their departures are a sad indictment of President Recep
    Tayyip Erdogan, who burnished his own reputation by expanding
    universal health care over his 18 years in power. It was one
    of his signature achievements. For many of his supporters,
    that action alone remains their main reason to support him.

    But the strains of those overhauls wrought by Erdogan, in
    addition to those brought by the pandemic — and now galloping
    inflation — have undermined the very professionals on whom the
    health system depends.

    Doctors complain of a grinding workload, diminishing returns
    for their work, a drastic loss of respect for the profession
    under Mr. Erdogan, and an increase in physical violence from
    their own patients.

    More than 1,400 Turkish doctors left their posts to work abroad
    last year, and 4,000 over the past decade, according to the
    Turkish Medical Assn, the largest association of medical
    professionals in the country. Many more are preparing applications
    and have requested certificates of good standing from the
    organization, officials said.

    “This is a result of long-accumulating issues,” said Bulent
    Kilic, a professor of public health at Dokuz Eylul University
    in the western city of Izmir. “In the last 20 years, there have
    been serious changes in the name of reform, and I think the
    heavy workload in the pandemic was the final straw.”

    For a long time, the changes that Erdogan introduced bore fruit.
    Turkey has long prided itself on the quality of its medical
    schools and its medical professionals, and in recent years, it
    has developed a thriving private health industry catering to
    thousands of international as well as Turkish patients. Fifteen
    new large city hospitals were built to expand the health service
    while access was broadened for the public.

    The health minister recently praised the president’s foresight,
    saying the system held up well during the worst days of the
    pandemic and facilities were never overwhelmed.

    But the system is no doubt stressed, leaving doctors feeling
    overburdened and underpaid. The steady erosion of their income
    and status has been too much for many doctors to bear.

    “Three years ago, I would have said the salary was fair, but now
    it is not,” said Dr. Furkan Cagri Koral, 26, a junior doctor who
    left Turkey only two years after graduating. “Doctors in Turkey
    are working at the level of slave labor considering the workload
    and the risks they are taking.”


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