Doctors in Oman strike for pay rises, better conditions

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Healthcare staff in Oman have pressed for an overhaul of pay and working conditions

Healthcare staff in Oman have pressed for an overhaul of pay and working conditions

Doctors in government-run hospitals across Oman have gone on strike in a bid to improve working conditions and wages, it was reported on Sunday.

Doctors in the Gulf sultanate, pressing to overhaul the standard of healthcare facilities, held a one-hour strike on Saturday and plan to do the same on Sunday, the Association of Omani doctors said.

“Patients are our concern therefore we are not going on full-fledged strike,” Dr Munira Saif Al Rubkhi, from the Royal Hospital, told Gulf News.  “The doctors will honour all on-call duties and also emergency calls.”

She warned that more strikes could follow.  “We may increase the hours of strike from next week,” said Al Rubkhi.

Doctors in Oman have been calling for a slew of changes at government run hospitals - chiefly improved wages, working conditions and infrastructure investment - since March.

Healthcare representatives held their first strike last year. 

Medical representatives on Wednesday met with the country’s Minister of Health, Dr Ahmed Bin Mohammed Bin Obaid Al Sa’eedi, to discuss the issues.

The Ministry of Health has established 13 technical teams to asset and evaluate the quality of health services in the Gulf state.

Oman was one of two Gulf states to see a series of uprisings last year, inspired by pro-democracy revolts that toppled the rulers of Egypt and Tunisia. In Oman, where rallies were on a relatively small scale, demands were focused on higher wages and jobs. Many protestors also demanded that the government prosecute sacked ministers for corruption.

Around 27 protestors were arrested in Sohar in March and April on charges of rioting and vandalism, including torching of a supermarket, a police station and two government buildings and damaging cars.

The sultanate in February increased the salary for national workers active in the private sector to OR200 rials ($520) per month from OR140.

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