The Royal Hospital staff, including doctors, nurses and other medical staff from various departments, held a half-day protest on Saturday at the hospital’s main entrance, demanding improvement in their salaries and an end to corruption in the Ministry of Health (MoH).
At least 60 staff members of the hospital, who started the protest at 7am, said they wanted to take their demands to MoH. The demands include a bigger budget for doctors' training and improvement of health affairs administration.
"We were keen on working with MoH to find solutions for all the problems that we have at The Royal Hospital including salary increase, transparency in training and scholarship procedure as well as tackling corruption," Dr Juma al Lawati, senior consultant and head, department of gastroenterology, told Muscat Daily.
"For many years, we as staff of The Royal Hospital, are not aware of the ministry's goals. The ministry should be more open about its plans and we would like to be part of the solution to the problems. Personally, I am more than willing to lay out the plan to solve the problems that the hospital faces but unfortunately, we are not given a chance," he added.
As far as salaries are concerned, Dr Lawati said Omani doctors are the least paid in the GCC. "There is a need to improve salaries. We are also calling for the establishment of a doctors association that will include all the people working in the medical field,” Dr Lawati said.
Saada Nasser, who has been working for the hospital for 23 years as a medical helper, said her salary grade has remained at Grade 9 for all these years. “Imagine working for the same grade for 23 years and there is no change just because we are medical helpers. Even for my annual increment, I get only RO5 to RO6 a year. Where is the justice here? Moreover, we are the ones who toil day and night working in shifts,” she said.