BEIRUT: Health Minister Wael Abu Faour followed up on the status of financial contributions to the Rafik Hariri Hospital Thursday, after employees blocked its entrances and its emergency room, in a strike over unpaid salaries.
“[The money] will be in the hospital’s bank accounts in 48 hours,” Finance Minister Ali Hasan Khalil told the health minister in a call Thursday.
Abu Faour said that "employees are entitled to their salaries, and I will ensure that their full rights will be granted."
The finance minister had announced last month that an agreement with the Parliamentary Health Committee was set to allocate LL1.5 billion to enhance the hospital's performance.
The staff commission at the state-owned hospital released a statement earlier Thursday, saying that employees participating in the strike would cease working, close off the entrance to the emergency room and the hospital’s main gates, and stop receiving patients, as of noon. The workers were demanding the three months’ salary that they said has been withheld, and a solution to complaints about the hospital’s inability to provide medications to patients suffering from chronic diseases.
The statement said that the strike came about due to the lack of solution to these issues, stressing the importance of “preserving the health of patients in the hospital and the [need] to offer the necessary treatment to ensure full recovery.”
The Coalition of Doctors in Lebanon announced its full support for Rafik Hariri Hospital employees' strike in a statement Thursday.
“[Employees] have the right to strike and protest until they are granted rights that have been delayed for months," said the statement.
The government had approved a plan proposed by Health Minister Wael Abu Faour to tackle the mounting problems facing the Rafik Hariri Hospital last month, after the state-owned facility was threatened with closure.