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‘Ministry allowing doctors to work 5 years beyond retirement age due to staff shortage’

By Merza Noghai - Mar 02,2015 - Last updated at Mar 02,2015

AMMAN — The government’s policy to allow Health Ministry doctors who passed the retirement age of 60 to extend their years of service has been applied for years, Ministry Spokesperson Hatem Azrui said on Monday.

“Doctors who turn 60 can renew their contracts with the ministry for up to five years,” Azrui told The Jordan Times.

Doctors who want to continue working have to apply to the ministry to renew their contracts, then the health minister makes a recommendation for the Cabinet to approve the renewal, the spokesperson said.

“Contract renewals have to be applied each year during the extra five years,” he noted, adding that all doctors — be they general physicians or specialists — can benefit from this policy.

Azrui said he did not have an exact figure on the number of doctors over 60 who are currently working at the Health Ministry, noting that many physicians have applied to extend their services.

During the past few years, the Health Ministry has suffered from a shortage in doctors, which prompted the government to apply this measure, according to the spokesperson.

The ministry has employed around 5,500 doctors and nurses in the past few years to prevent the “collapse” of the health sector with the influx of over 1 million refugees from countries where epidemics are rampant, according to recent remarks by Health Minister Ali Hiasat.

“The ministry’s need for doctors, the current staff shortage and the potential of benefiting from the experiences of these physicians are the main reasons for applying the policy,” Azrui said.

The ministry mainly faces a shortage of neurologists, cardiologists, anaesthesiologists, nephrologists and vascular surgeons, he added.

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