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Purged doctors to be able to work at private hospitals as AKP backtracks on bill

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Thousands of doctors who have been fired from their jobs at state-run hospitals as part of a massive purge launched by Turkey’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) government in the aftermath of a failed coup attempt will be allowed to work at private hospitals as the AKP has retreated on the issue, Turkish media reports said on Tuesday.

The AKP recently introduced a bill which among other things aimed to ban purged doctors from being employed by private hospitals, which sparked outrage from doctors and doctors associations as well as opposition parties as Turkey already suffers from a shortage of doctors.

Due to public criticism, the AKP has given up insisting on including the relevant article in the bill. According the revised version of the bill, doctors who have been removed from their jobs through government decrees issued by the government during a state of emergency or who undergo a security investigation will be able to work at private hospitals that have contracts with Turkey’s Social Security Institution (SGK). Medical reports to be written by these doctors will be considered valid.

Those who fail to pass the security investigation will either wait 450 days to be able to work at private hospitals that have contracts with the SGK, or they will pay a fine, set TL 75,000 for practitioners and TL 120,000 for staff physicians, for failure to pass the investigation.

Pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democracy Party (HDP) deputy Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu, who is a doctor by profession and was also sacked from his job at a public hospital, announced the news from his Twitter account on Tuesday.

“They [the AKP] took a step back. Purged doctors will be able to work at hospitals that have contracts with the SGK,” he tweeted.

The Turkish government launched a witch-hunt targeting the Gülen movement following the abortive putsch, accusing its followers of masterminding the coup attempt.

The movement strongly denies any involvement in the failed coup.

Since then, some 140,000 public servants have been dismissed by government decrees and more than 600,000 people investigated on terrorism charges.

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