Doctors march demanding better conditions for Medicine Day

Doctor organizations have held the “Great Doctors’ March” for Medicine Day in Istanbul’s Kadıköy district. Health professionals demanded better, secure, and violence-free working conditions. 

Duvar English

Medical trade organizations on March 16 held the “Great Doctors’ March” for Medicine Day. The doctors convened in front of a university hospital in Istanbul’s Kadıköy district to demand better work conditions. 

The protesters chanted “We want to practice in violence-free, safe, and secure environments,” “We want to live as humans while making humans live,” and “We won’t become doctors of the presidential palace,” according to the ANKA News Agency. 

The doctors then marched to the Kadıköy Pier for a press statement. 

A young doctor's placard reads, "Violence against women is a public health concern." 

Şebnem Korur Fincancı, chair of the Turkish Medical Association (TTB), touched upon the narrowing public health sector in her speech. 

“For a long time, our colleagues have suffered under the risk of violence in public hospitals. Combined with five-minute examination times, they are forced out of public service,” she said, drawing attention to the quickly increasing number of private hospitals in Istanbul.

Noting the mass exodus of Turkey’s doctors to European countries, Fincancı said doctors were forced to “choose between daily violence and leaving their country.” 

The TTB worked to make sure doctors did not feel obliged to emigrate or move into private institutions, stated the association chair. 

Istanbul Medical Chamber (İTO) president Nergis Erdoğan reiterated the economic, social, and professional demands of doctors. 

“Our demands are very simple. We want to practice medicine in an environment free from violence. We want to practice medicine well. We want conditions that allow us to live as humans. To serve the people, we need to be able to breathe,” she stated. 

TTB has reported that 2,285 doctors applied for the Certificate of Good Standing necessary for job applications abroad in the first half of 2023.

Turkey currently ranks last in Europe with its 218 doctors per 100,000 people ratio, according to the European Statistical Office (Eurostat).