x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

An intern's case for wages

Dr Salma has worked, unpaid, for seven months at Fujairah Hospital, but to take the internship, she turned down another that would have paid her Dh30,000 a month.

Dr Salma has worked, unpaid, for seven months at Fujairah Hospital, getting up at 7am each day to commute there.

She does it, she says, to honour her medical oath.

"I took an oath and medicine is what I chose to do," said Dr Salma (not her real name). "So no matter what, I will keep working."

But she is hardly happy. To take the internship, she turned down another that would have paid her Dh30,000 a month.

Dr Salma said she regretted believing the Ministry of Health's promise of a salary.

"Health Authority - Abu Dhabi offered me a position," she said. "But I chose to stay here in Fujairah next to my family and to work in a place were there's a shortage of doctors. I also believed the ministry would pay us as they promised."

Last week she had the chance to confront the minister, Abdul Rahman Al Owais, over the issue.

"I told him, 'why did you not tell us in the first place we would not be paid?' If we had known, it would have been better; we wouldn't have had our hopes and expectations up for nothing.

"They just kept promising us and seven months later they took away everything.

"We as Emirati doctors deserve more than this. We expected more from the ministry. We are disappointed and want wages like others."

* Ola Salem