by Seda Taşkın
Turkey’s Health Minister Fahrettin Koca announced that medical staff in both public and private institutions will not be allowed to quit their jobs during the coronavirus outbreak. It was also stated that retirement procedures will not take effect during this period as well. The only exceptions are for those who are forced into retirement due to disability or retirement on the grounds of age. The ministry’s notice was sent to the country’s 81 governor’s offices.
The Turkish Medical Association (TTB) reacted to this statement by stating that it was unacceptable. “When COVID-19 is still not being recognized as an occupational illness during the eighth month of the pandemic and when healthcare staff are not being tested for COVID-19 regularly, it is unacceptable that their requests to leave their jobs and/or their resignations are prevented”, stated the TTB in its official Twitter account.
The Chair of the TTB, Prof. Dr. Sinan Adıyaman, commented about the decision of the Ministry to MedyaNews. Adıyaman stated that healthcare professionals have been experiencing serious problems for about eight months. He criticized the ministry for its handling of the pandemic, and added: “More than 40,000 healthcare workers have been infected with COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic. As of yesterday, a total of 128 healthcare workers, 52 of whom are doctors, have lost their lives because of the coronavirus. Under such circumstances, it was not a necessary circular. We health workers are not going anywhere. We will continue to serve the public. We will continue to protect public health. As I have just said, all healthcare workers need to be protected”.