Ayhan Çimendağ / DUVAR
Turkey's Ministry of Health is in nearly 17 billion TL of debt to the medical device and supply companies, according to the Federation of Medical Device Manufacturers and Suppliers (TÜMDEF).
“Is there another sector that is owed this much by the government? Is there another sector that has begged this long to get what it is owed? Heaven knows why, they have chosen to ignore the medical sector during the payment process,” said TÜMDEF vice president Erkin Delikanlı.Health Ministry says some private hospitals, labs failed to register COVID-19 test results on gov't system
Metin Güler of the Eskişehir Chamber of Commerce wrote a letter to Minister of Health Fahrettin Koca and ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) deputies from the province of Eskişehir reminding them that payments that needed to be made within 200 days had exceeded 400 days unpaid and that there were 150 companies in Eskişehir alone currently dealing with this problem.
“The government brings miracles every day but the state's coffers are empty. We have been warning the government for months regarding the issue of medical devices. We asked over an over again, and you did not respond. What are you planning to do when it gets to the point where the needs of the patients cannot be met?,” said main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) Ankara deputy Murat Emir.
The debt has had an impact on employment in the sector, which provides up to 250,000 jobs in Turkey:
“How is an industry that has been intubated expected to provide services to a patient that is intubated? The lack of cash resources will be reflected negatively in employment,” Delikanlı said.
Murat Küçük owns a firm that sales medical products in the province of Denizli, and says he has been forced to live on loans due to being owed a large sum by the government:
“I am owed 18 million TL from the state but I am unable to pay the 3,000 TL debt on my credit card. We are unable to receive our payments. We want to be paid right away,” Küçük said.
Health and Social Services Workers Union (SES) co-chair Gönül Erden says that the accumulation of debt is the natural result of the privatization of the country's healthcare system:
“The way to prevent this and similar crises is for the healthcare system to be completely in the hands of the public and to ensure free healthcare,” Erden said.Resignations at Turkish Health Ministry follow controversy over unreliable COVID-19 tests