FNC member: Guarantee jobs for medical interns

FNC pushes for enforcement of a 1974 law that allows Emiratis to be hired as physicians following their internship year.

FNC member Sheikha Al Owais (Sharjah) Fatima Al Marzooqi / The National
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ABU DHABI // An FNC member has called for the enforcement of a law ensuring Emirati medical interns have jobs waiting when they graduate.

Dr Sheikha Al Owais (Sharjah) said a 1974 law stated Emiratis should be given jobs after their internship year.

But Dr Abdul Rahman Al Owais, the Minister of Health, said he could not promise that would happen.

"In 1974 an Emirati doctor was very rare and they still are," the minister said. "But what the Ministry of Health is doing now is what all health authorities do around the world."

He said the Health Authority-Abu Dhabi (Haad) and the Dubai Health Authority did not guarantee employment after internship, and neither should the Ministry of Health.

"The ministry wants Emirati doctors and it is important to employ them, but only if there is space, of course," the minister said.

He said there were not always vacancies and, of the 80 interns working for the ministry, more than half were dentists, which were not in demand.

He added that the ministry needed specialised doctors, not recent graduates.

Dr Sheikha Al Owais said the ministry then needed to invest in the new graduates to help them become specialised.

Ministry of Health interns now receive Dh11,000 a month, which is half the salary of a junior doctor and half the salary Haad interns receive.

There has been a disruption in pay with interns having to wait nine months to receive salaries.

In past years they received about Dh21,000 a month.