Colonial War Memorial Hospital. [Source: File Photo]
Reversing the large migration of medical professionals remains a huge challenge for the Ministry of Health.
Permanent Secretary Doctor James Fong says while they are looking at immediate ways to address the issue, they also have retention strategies which will be discussed with the Ministry of Civil Service.
Doctor Fong says the Ministry is implementing immediate mitigation measures to address the issue of exodus of medical professionals.
“Some of the immediate mitigation measures does involve increasing the cadre of non clinical staff so that they can take on the the clinical duties of nonclinical duties of the nurses and doctors that have gone. And it allows the remaining group to focus more on their clinical duties. Even small things like running a patient from labor war down to the theater. We try to avoid having doctors and nurses doing that. We try to get the doctors and nurses to be prepositioned, ready to deliver the service that they want to carry out the nonclinical business.”
Doctor Fong says they are also looking at increasing the number of community health workers that would be able to engage in their primary health care programs.
“That would allow, again, a lot of our public health, primary health care nurses and doctors to be able to focus on their clinical duties and leave the nonclinical duties outside. We also have a big cadre of health inspectors and other graduates who are not currently employed, who have graduated but not employed. Ando again, that’s another space that we want to look at.”
CWM Medical Superintendent Dr Luke Nasedra says discussions are also underway on staff remunerations.
The Ministry confirms that nurses are being paid overtime and meal allowances to which they are entitled, and Doctor Fong adds that they are being paid from reserves left over from departing employees.