The Ministry of Health has decided to expand the doctor cadres allocated to private hospitals, which are suffering from Turkey's ongoing doctor shortage.
The ministry plans to allocate 20 percent of the doctors who pass the Turkish Medical Specialization Examination (TUS) to private hospitals in 2012 and 30 percent to private hospitals in 2013, meaning private hospitals will be provided with at least 2,500 doctors each year by the ministry's new plan.
There are currently 24,000 physicians working in private hospitals permanently, according to data from the Ministry of Health. According to the ministry's expectations, the number of general physicians will reach 200,000 in Turkey by 2023, with 50,000 of these doctors working in private hospitals.
Private hospitals have faced a shortage of doctors since 2008, when the Ministry of Health restricted the number of permanent doctors working in private hospitals with a new regulation. These private hospitals were only able to use cadres provided by the Ministry of Health and were unable to transfer permanent doctors from state hospitals, creating a shortage in private hospitals. Last year, the Ministry of Health allocated 1,300 doctors to private hospitals in order to solve the doctor shortage at these hospitals temporarily to some degree, but this was not sufficient.
Private Hospitals and Health Institutions Association (OHSAD) Secretary-General Cevat Şengül told Today's Zaman that the Ministry of Health's new plan will provide relief in the health sector.
Stating that private hospitals have experienced many problems due to the ministry's restrictions, Şengül added that the private hospitals cannot provide high-quality health care service to their patients due to doctor shortages. “Because the Ministry of Health does not allocate new doctors to the private hospitals, we have to headhunt these cadres from other private hospitals, which puts an extra financial burden on private hospitals' shoulders. Private hospitals currently have to pay hundreds of thousands of lira for a doctor cadre,” Şengül explained.
Stating that they expect the first new teams of doctors in June, Şengül said private hospitals constitute 35 percent of the Turkish health care sector with a total of 90 million private policlinics. “Private hospitals will be able to provide better healthcare service to their patients with the new plan,” Şengül further noted.