World Bulletin / News Desk
The annulment by the Constitutional Court of the Full Day Law regulation, which had prohibited state doctors from working at their own clinics or any private medical institution, was welcomed by physicians but harshly criticized by patients’ rights activists.
The Full Day Law was mandated by the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government with a statutory decree in August 2011. Before it, many doctors employed at state and university hospitals would work half-days at those institutions and half-days at private practices. When the regulation came into effect in October 2011, doctors employed by university and state hospitals were forced to work full-time in those state positions. The Health Ministry offered these doctors two choices: working full time at a state institution or resign and seek employment at a private practice.
The Republican People’s Party (CHP) applied to the Constitutional Court for to seek its annulment in October 2011.
Nine months later, on July 18, the Constitutional Court ruled for the annulment of Full Day Law. The regulation will fall from effect in six months’ time.
Govt says no return to old system
The annulment of the Full Day Law has not pleased patients, however. The Association of Patients’ Rights Activists in particular has criticized the top court’s decision. Bursa representative of the association Takyettin Karakaya told the Cihan news agency that new legislation to prohibit state doctors from working at private practices should be introduced. Karakaya stated that the decision has not been welcomed by anyone and added that being a doctor, which is commonly seen as one of the most sacred occupations, should not be practiced on the basis of material interests.
However, at a press conference on Friday, the Turkish Doctors Union (TTB) expressed its support for the decision as it had felt the Full Day Law was unfair. Stating that they fear the government will prepare new legislation to address the issue, the TTB called on the government not to pursue legislation that will restrict physicians to from freely making decisions about their careers.
Meanwhile, at a press conference on Thursday, AK Party Deputy Chairman Hüseyin Çelik told reporters that Turkey will not return to the same system as before the Full Day Law was implemented.
Stating that the Constitutional Court annulled the regulation due to procedural problems, Çelik added: “This doesn’t mean Turkey will return to the old system. This should first be known by everyone. This issue will be brought to the government’s agenda again; we [the AK Party government] will assess all aspects of the issue and make new decisions. It is not our intention to disrupt or hurt doctors; we only aim to provide our citizens with high quality medical services. Our government will do whatever is necessary to that end.”Last Mod: 20 Temmuz 2012, 17:28