Health Minister says new PMS system and separate career pathway to retain health professionals

Focus on operationalizing the Oncology center

The Ministry of Health has announced a series of new priorities and strategies. These initiatives, set to be implemented over the next five years, are poised to address critical challenges and fulfil longstanding pledges made to the people. While addressing the pertinent issue of the attrition rate of nurses.

Emphasising the need for sustained progress and innovation in the health sector, Lyonpo Tandin Wangchuk expressed his commitment to building upon the transformational efforts initiated by the previous government.

He said, “The transformation has set a strong foundation for improving the quality and efficiency of health service delivery. We will provide leadership and support to further strengthen it and suggest remedial measures whenever the need arises.”

Among the top priorities outlined by Lyonpo Tandin Wangchuk is the urgent need to address the attrition rate among healthcare professionals, particularly in light of the challenges faced by tertiary health facilities like the Jigme Dorji Wangchuck National Referral Hospital (JDWNRH).

Recognising the severity of the issue, he said, “Human resource (HR) attrition in the health sector has become a major challenge. We must urgently address the attrition issue to prevent potential crises.”

In line with this priority, the Ministry aims to enhance self-reliance in the health workforce by working closely with relevant stakeholders to devise sustainable solutions. Lyonpo Tandin Wangchuk highlighted the importance of this initiative, emphasising the critical role of healthcare professionals in delivering quality services to the people.

In addressing the pressing issue of attrition among nurses, Lyonpo Tandin Wangchuk underscored the importance of implementing a robust performance management system. He expressed optimism about ongoing efforts to develop a new performance management system and career pathway for healthcare professionals, aimed at recognising and incentivizing the invaluable contributions of healthcare workers.

He said, “In a similar line and on a positive note, I am glad to note that the National Medical Services, in coordination with the Ministry of Health and the Royal Civil Service Commission, is developing a different performance management system and career pathway for healthcare professionals with the objective of recognising and differentiating the unique roles and responsibilities of different categories of health professionals.

“I will provide my fullest support to take this initiative forward,” he added.

Another key focus area for the Ministry is the comprehensive implementation of the 13th Five-Year Plan (FYP). Lyonpo Tandin Wangchuk said, “The 13th FYP holds great potential to drive impactful outcomes across all thematic areas of the health sector. We are committed to its full implementation for the benefit of our citizens.”

In a bid to harness the power of digital technology, the Ministry is set to roll out the Electronic Patient Information System (ePIS) across all health facilities in the country. Lyonpo Tandin Wangchuk said, “We are excited to explore innovative ways to leverage digital technology and improve the quality of health services. The implementation of ePIS will mark a significant milestone in our journey towards digitizing healthcare.”

Addressing the need for sustainable healthcare financing, Lyonpo Tandin Wangchuk emphasized the importance of forging new partnerships with development partners to mitigate rising healthcare costs. He highlighted the ministry’s commitment to exploring innovative financing mechanisms.

Responding to pledges made regarding the establishment of Samtse Hospital as a regional referral hospital, Lyonpo stated the Ministry’s commitment to conducting further reviews and delivering on the pledge. He acknowledged the potential benefits of elevating Samtse Hospital’s status, particularly amidst the current healthcare workforce shortage.

Regarding plans for the Multi-Disciplinary Specialised Hospital (MDSSH) in Thimphu, Lyonpo Tandin Wangchuk said, “Taking these concerns, although we intend to embark on the formative aspects (design and infrastructure development) of the MDSSH project in the coming FYP, our major focus will be on fully operationalizing the specialist oncology centre.”

“Further, from my assessment, fully operationalizing the MDSSH will easily span over a few more five-year plans, and our goal is to embark upon it during our term by initiating the actual project,” he added.

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