Doctors ordered to halt elective surgeries as currency crisis hits Turkish hospitals

The loss in value of the Turkish lira in recent months is ringing the alarm bells of health services in Turkey, with a chief physician warning doctors not to perform elective surgeries or face accusations of “damaging the state.”

A directive signed by Prof. Dr. Ahmet Demircan, chief physician of Gazi University Hospital, was shared by journalist Bülent Mumay on Twitter. In the directive dated Oct. 5, 2018, Demircan underlines that suppliers have been demanding higher prices for medicine and medical equipment due to the recent currency crisis.

The Turkish lira has lost almost 50 percent of its value against the US dollar since the beginning of 2018.

Asking doctors to add documents showing the necessity of the surgery to their requests for surgical instruments, Demircan said the documents would be evidence against any accusation of “damaging the state” or “causing damage to the public.”

“I thank you for your understanding and cooperation in continuing vital operations and delaying elective surgeries,” Demircan said.

Gazi University announced in 2016 that they had provided treatment for more than 60,000 inpatients in one year.

Ege University Hospital in September asked patients not to request printed medical reports due to a sharp rise in the cost of paper.

Minister: Private sector to reduce prices 10 percent to fight inflation

Meanwhile, the Turkish government has agreed with the private sector for an across-the-board 10 percent discount in goods, Finance and Treasury Minister Berat Albayrak said on Tuesday, in a move aimed at taming inflation that surged to nearly 25 percent last month, Reuters reported.

Albayrak said the discount would be reflected in all the goods that make up Turkey’s inflation basket, adding that there would be no more price increases in electricity and natural gas until yearend.

Unveiling a new set of measures to fight inflation, Turkey’s treasury and finance minister vowed an “all-out war” on inflation on Tuesday, according to the state-owned Anadolu news agency.

“This program for an all-out war on inflation will further boost investor confidence,” said Albayrak.

Under the program, Albayrak said there would be no increases in electricity or natural gas prices through the end of the year and that the government would support businesses to prevent layoffs.

“Our banks will give a 10 percent discount to high-interest loans extended after Aug. 1,” he added.

Companies that try to boost profits under the current circumstances would cause greater losses in the near term, he warned.

According to the country’s statistics authority, Turkey’s annual inflation reached 24,52 percent in September, up from 17,90 in August.

As noted in Turkey’s new economic program announced last month, the country’s inflation rate target is 20,8 percent this year, 15,9 percent next year, 9,8 percent in 2020 and 6,0 percent in 2021. (SCF with turkishminute.com)

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