The majority of family physicians in Turkey have not received payments covering their running expenses, it is reported. Provincial Health Directorates informed doctors about the worrying situation by sending text messages (SMS).
Kayseri Provincial Health Directorate of family physicians sent a text message to the mobile phones of family doctors saying that they can not make payments to the doctors for the recurring expenses for the month. The directorate claimed that the situation is the same in the other provinces as well.
The family physician system was implemented in Turkey in 2010. It involves financial assistance to local health personnel and doctors working at a family health centre who are appointed to take care of the health needs of families in a given area. These centres provide health services such as vaccinations and monitoring of pregnancies through regular visits.
The text message that was sent out to family physicians read, “Family physicians’ current expenditure payment could not be made in our city, as in many other provinces, because the planning of allowances could not be made by the Ministry of Finance. Meetings are ongoing for the payments to be made.’
A family doctor, who wanted to stay anonymous, spoke to the Turkish news portal, Medyabold, claiming that the money was used for upcoming election costs, as with the mobilisation of all resources for election investments before the local elections on March 31st. He also claimed that salaries of family physicians could not be paid in a number of provinces.
The recurring expenditure payment, which is mentioned in the text message sent by the Provincial Directorate of Health, covers all the work-related expenses of the doctors that are not covered by their salaries. These expenses include the salaries of personnel employed at the health centres, the costs of medical equipment, and the costs of electricity and water.