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Morocco’s resident, internal doctors vow to protest over exclusion from health reform talks

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Morocco’s healthcare sector is currently in a state of turmoil, as internal and resident doctors vowed to embark on an escalation plan to protest against their exclusion from decision-making, and meager salaries, among other grievances.

The unrest now has extended to medical doctors, as the National Commission of Internal and Resident Doctors has prepared a list of demands–a copy of which Hespress EN obtained– that encompasses several non-negotiable points.

“We, the backbone of university hospital centers, demand involvement in decision-making. We were excluded from recent health ministry meetings with both central and independent unions representing doctors and nurses. We also did not participate in the discussions regarding the reform of the third cycle held by the Ministry of Higher Education,” said Ali Farissi, the coordinator of the National Commission for Internal and Resident Doctors.

In a statement to Hespress EN, Farissi complained about the meager salaries of non-contractual residents and internal doctors, often capped at a mere MAD 3500. He also noted that internal doctors do not receive compensation for overnight shifts.

The National Commission suggested, in this regard,  increasing compensation for non-contractual resident doctors to MAD 12,000 and internal doctors to MAD 10,000.

The Commission also emphasized the need to extend compulsory student health insurance, as outlined in Ministerial Decree No.1.15.105, to both internal and resident doctors.

The coordinator additionally stated that “contractual resident doctors demand a reduction in their contract term from eight to two years, as well as the elimination of the resignation fine which is double what they earn over the years of service.”

“The long commitment discourages many doctors from entering contracts. Instead, the state should work on other ways to increase attractiveness,” he emphasized.

Doctors also strongly oppose transferring them from university hospital centers to regional or provincial ones.

“The resident and internal doctors are still under development as they still need guidance from professors,” said Farissi, vehemently “opposing being sent to unsupervised hospitals to simply address the professional shortage.”

The National Commission also opposes the proposed health map for the private sector, which aims to enhance the homogeneous distribution of doctors. “It is an infringement on equal opportunity and unfair to fresh graduates,” said the statement.

“We insist that the ability to choose where we work remains an option for doctors,” stressed Farissi.

As to officials’ response, the coordinator stated that they held a courtesy meeting with the Health Ministry’s HR director.

He highlighted that “the list of demands submitted on 23rd February, along with a meeting request with the Health Minister, submitted on 26th January, has yet to receive a response.” Similarly, “the commission’s request for a meeting with the Higher Education Ministry, submitted on February 19th, regarding the third-cycle reform remains unanswered.”

“This lack of communication creates a sense of injustice and frustration. Therefore, we plan to announce the format of our protest next week after conducting general assemblies with the doctors in question,” concluded Farissi, in a statement to Hespress EN.

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