1,500 doctors interviewing everyday for 2,000 posts in Saudi Arabia

Published: September 29, 2010
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Most of the 3,000 senior doctors in Punjab have applied for the positions. PHOTOS: IJAZ MAHMOOD/express

Most of the 3,000 senior doctors in Punjab have applied for the positions. PHOTOS: IJAZ MAHMOOD/express

LAHORE: As many as 1,500 Pakistani doctors a day are being interviewed in Lahore to fill 2,000 positions in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

The Saudi health ministry authorities are interviewing doctors in several categories for one-year contract based jobs. The specialists being recruited include orthopedic surgeons, dental surgons, neurologists, pediatricians and emergency physicians.

The interviews began on September 27 and are scheduled to go on till October 5. A 25-member panel of the Saudi health ministry has so far selected 200 doctors, a registration desk staffer told The Express Tribune.

Several applicants, the Tribune talked to, mostly working in public sector jobs, said that their salaries range from Rs19,000 and Rs45,000 per month. If they succeed in getting the contract, the applicants said, they would receive a salary in the range of Saudi Ryal 5,500 and 35,000 per month, besides usual perks.

Dr Azeem, a senior medical officer from Rahim Yar Khan, said that he looked forward to constructing a house and starting a family. He said that he would never be able to undertake these tasks from his salary.

The government of Pakistan spends approximately Rs2 million on every doctor during his MBBS programme, a University of Health Sciences (UHS) spokesperson said.

Dr Talha Sheerwani, a Young Doctors Association (YDA) leader, said he was astonished to see the number of senior doctors who had applied for the positions.

He said that there were around 3,000 senior doctors in the Punjab. The loss of these experienced doctors, he said, would be a huge setback to the country.

He said that doctors can be persuaded not to go abroad by increasing their salaries and improving their service structure. Its first step, he said, the government should appoint a doctor to the position of the health secretary instead of a bureaucrat.

Dr Fida Hussain, a resident doctor, said that the government could stop the brain drain by adopting better policies. He lamented that the doctors moving to the Saudi Arabia would never be appointed as heads of departments.

“They never appoint non-residents to senior posts,” he said.

A large number of senior dostors including medical superintendents and additional medical superintendents have also applied for the positions.

A renowned professor of urology, seeking one of the positions who requested not to be named, said that he had 35 years experience in his field while the panel interviewing him had no person more than 35 years of age.

The applications are being processed through Saudi Arabian representatives like Overseas Employment Corporation (OEC), Al-Najam, Al-Quresh and Fauji Foundation.

An OEC official, helping applicants, said that the number of applications they had received was far in excess of the vacancies.

Dr Sheerwani said that the Saudi Arabian government had hired around 1,200 doctors in March 2010.

He said that the package offered by the Saudi government was too attractive for a Pakistani doctor to ignore. For entry-level positions, he said, the basic salary was in the range of Saudi Ryal 5,500 to 8,000 per month along with four return tickets and 25 holidays per year and free accommodation.

He said that mid-career consultants will get from Saudi Ryals 12,000 to 15,000 per month, besides perks, associate professors between Saudi Ryal 18,000 to 25,000 per month and professors from Saudi Ryals 25,000 to 35,000 per month.

He added that a resident doctor in Pakistan earns from Rs 19,300 per month, those on contract get between Rs25,000 and Rs28,000. A professor, he said, gets between Rs45,000 and Rs55,000 per month.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 29th, 2010.

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Reader Comments (13)

  • Sep 29, 2010 - 9:31AM

    And we desperately need doctors in Pakistan especially in villages and small towns where the quacks have taken over.Recommend

  • faruq azim
    Sep 29, 2010 - 10:24AM

    why are these greedy doctors being allowed to leave? when 20 lakhs of the pakistani taxpayers’ money is spent on each of these fellows,then why are they allowed to turn their backs on the country which doled out 20 lakhs to get them educated?
    the medical profession has been squandering pakistani taxpayers money for far too long,it’s time someone took notice of it in the media.
    Female medical students waste millions of taxpayer’s rupees every year as after getting subsidised education,the overwhelming majority of them choose to stay home & just become baby producing factories & waste the entire huge sum spent by the taxpayers on their education.They only get their mbbs degree so they can land a better husband as in our backward country an mbbs pass has still got a lot of social prestige.

    SIMPLY PASSING YOUR MBBS MAKES YOU A MBBS PASS,NOT A DOCTOR.
    A DOCTOR IS SOMEONE WHO ACTUALLY PRACTICES MEDICINE & WORKS.
    THE ONES SITTING AT HOME AFTER COMPLETING MBBS ARE MBBS PASS & NOT DOCTORS.Recommend

  • Sep 29, 2010 - 1:44PM

    We live in a country where the only profession worth looking upto is Armed Forces – good salary, residence, health care, quality education for kids, excellent pension schemes, insurance, opportunity to head some public department if luck gives you a chance, paawa, financial and social state – all what an ordinary middle class Pakistan could ask for.

    We cant blame the doctors in a country which spends less than 2% on health while a quarter of its GDP on defence; which has always failed miserably.Recommend

  • shanil khan
    Sep 29, 2010 - 2:32PM

    why does the govt. waste so much of the public’s money on female medical students when the vast majority of them don’t work as doctors after graduation but prefer to become housewives only when so much of the nation’s money has been spent on their subsidised medical education?
    This money could be better spent on worthwile ppl who actually do something for their society rather than eating up scarce tax revenues & then wasting it all.Recommend

  • Tariq Nasim
    Sep 29, 2010 - 2:57PM

    Be aware while deciding….. the contracts are done for the consultant and Sr. registrar levels. On the completion of first year the contracts are renewed to Registrar levels as the higher qualification does not match the requirements for Saudi Council.

    Will write more comments with detailsRecommend

  • Ibad
    Sep 29, 2010 - 6:01PM

    Any doctor leaving the country should be bound to pay back the fee.Recommend

  • dr osama hassan
    Sep 29, 2010 - 10:34PM

    i dont understand why every body is taking this issue so seriously!!!why no one has ever bothered when hundreds of engineers and buisiness executives leave the country,,,isnt that a brain drain???why only doctors????after completing 5 years of mbbs many doctors dont even get paid house jobs…and have to work honorary…during fcps training and mo ship their maximum salary is upto 22500.!!can anyone support a family in this humble salary???even police constables are getting 18 to 20000 per month….rest everyone has the right to make his own opinionRecommend

  • Doctus
    Sep 30, 2010 - 7:50AM

    while it’s totally understandable that people be concerned about the brain drain but it would be naive of them to ignore the reasons behind it. Practicing medicine is considered one of the toughest job around the globe. According to a study, the suicide rate among physician is 70% higher when compared to other professions.With countless hours that they put in into the studies, the week long overnight shifts, lowly paid to unpaid internships, no perks and the massive influx of patients that they have to see in government hospitals; they are not the one to be blamed for leaving. While the physician around the globe get higher salaries than any other profession, the doctors in our country are ignored, insulted, underpaid and over-worked on regular basis. They certainly did not sign up for this and if the government and people can not respect their services, they are free to go wherever they want to and wherever they think they will have a more respectful job.Recommend

  • Muaz
    Oct 1, 2010 - 7:27PM

    If govt is spending 20 lakh for a doctor, they are spending around 5 lakh for a MA or BA or FA student, why we forget this. We are getting subsidized electricity, subsidized food everyday. In this way ,every pakistani is bound to serve his own country as govt is spending too much for them.

    The person going abroad will at least send a lot of remittances to his country more than 20 lakh. Around 8 Billion Dollars a year is obtained by pakistani govt from remittances. This amount is 30 percent of the budget of pakistan.

    My question to all opposing fellows is that would everybody be stopped going abroad as at some time or other, everybody is enjoying subsidized education, food, necessities.
    My 2nd question is that would u think these doctors are not tax payers and not paying tax each month from their salaries. Is it not good for the country to get huge amount of remittances per month.

    A person abroad can save around 100000 per month and can send around 50000 per month to pakistan.
    2000 docters can send around 2000 X 50000=100 Million Pakistani Rupees 10 Crore
    and for one year 120 crore. Is not a worth money?Recommend

  • Faisal Amin Baig
    Oct 1, 2010 - 11:24PM

    Well the status and the pay of the doctors working in a public hospital is so poor that its hard to comply with the basic necesseties of life without doing a second job. Still with that you aren’t able to save a single penny. The government has not made us doctors by spending so called 20 lakhs per annum. Infact the doctor himself has to pay alot and still for doing post graduations most of them don’t get a pay even, barring government supporting and making them what they are after completion of their post graduation. So its the very basic human right of a doctor or any other human for that matter that they should seek good oppotunities when they find one. Especially when nobody acknowledges the hard work a doctor puts in and still thereafter cannot make a good living in this country where the illetrate and fake degree holders decide the policies of the country.Recommend

  • frustrated doc
    Oct 3, 2010 - 5:08PM

    Before commenting on whether docs should not leave the country, one should consider the salaries of physicians worldwide and in Pakistan. Abroad, the govternments pay doctors so much that they need not do a second job or private practice. In Pakistan majority of docs are unpaid while doing continous 108 hrs duty ( yes a whole week on call in surgery ). If a civil judge can get Rs. 100,000/- per month then a doctor who puts in a lot of effort n hard work during MBBS definitely deserves a lot !!! If they r not given their due right then docs have every right to go abroad n enjoy a better life.Recommend

  • Dr. Bilal
    Oct 4, 2010 - 1:44AM

    Those chosen for the study of MBBS are the cream of students. They are the best minds of nation and they are paid less than income of a shopkeeper. Moreover what government is getting from each private medical college student is more than what they spend on an MBBS student of public sector college.
    And the way doctors are serving government and this nation at such low pays, how can this be equal to what government spends on students.
    How government is spending on medical students???
    1. Maintaining hospitals (In this way government is spending on u ppl too)
    2. Paying professors
    3. Medical instruments etc
    everyone of u knows what is condition of public hospitals. In this way u can calculate how much government really spends on students and how much is written on the papers.
    If u wanna see the condition of medical colleges, I recommend u to visit SIMS and also the hostel in which the students are living in. Even the quarters of servents r in better condition.Recommend

  • Imran
    Oct 7, 2010 - 11:22PM

    Once the doctor lans in KSA, THERE WILL BE NO PAY FOR 3 MONTHS.

    The doctor has to pay for insurance 1000 riyals and 1000 riyals for registration

    Those with children will find only arabic schools in small cities

    Doctors will also need to go do Saudi Medical registration

    Ofciurse learn Arabic to talk to patientsRecommend

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