2 specialists and 5 doctors take EOL from JDWNRH, 2 retire and 1 resigns
A total of 5 General Duties Medical Officers (GDMO) and Medical Officers or doctors, 2 specialists, a pharmacologist and a chest physician have taken the Extra-Ordinary Leave (EOL), 1 regular GDMO has resigned and 2 doctors superannuated in the Jigme Dorji Wangchuck National Referral Hospital (JDWNRH) this year.
This means JDWNRH is down by 10 doctors this year.
A JDWNRH official said there are medical staff taking EOL and resigning in every hospital across the country, but the public should not be alarmed by it. He said some GDMO are accompanying their spouses abroad which is mainly to Australia.
The official said JDWNRH has no shortage of GDMO or general doctors. The only pharmacologist and chest physician in JDWNRH are leaving early next year, and he said JDWNRH will still be able to manage since there are other doctors who have also studied pharmacology, but not at the level of a specialist, and also pharmacologist are not directly related to patient care, so not having a pharmacologist will not have a great impact in providing the medical services.
Similarly, with the chest specialist, the hospital said it has alternatives as to how to provide the services.
The concern with the chest specialist leaving is that she is the only chest specialist in the JDWNRH.
A chest specialist looks after all lung related diseases like Tuberculosis, Asthma, Lung Cancer etc.
However, since there are two chest specialists in the Royal Bhutan Army the plan is to depute one of them to JDWNRH.
He said JDWNRH’s health services will not be affected even if a few doctors leave for EOL since there are many intern doctors and doctors who are doing their medical MD courses in KGUMSB. With the guidance from the senior doctors, the intern doctors also help in the patient care.
However, he also said that looking for replacements for the specialists on EOL is not easy.
Before approving the EOL of any medical staff, the hospital makes sure that the services in their department are not compromised. The hospital only approves their EOL after managing the alternatives and exploring other options. The hospital does not approve EOL anytime and to anybody, the head of department will decide and recommend whether to approve or not, he said.
He said many doctors who took EOL in the past have rejoined their duty since there are certain service obligations (bonds). Every year there are one or two doctors who leave for EOL, but this year, the number is a bit high.
The Chief HRO of the Ministry of Health said the medical people leaving is quite alarming, and it is a concern since their job is critical and is directly related human care.
Another JDWNRH official said there is a lack of nurses in the hospital. Many nurses have taken EOL and many have resigned and the department is still getting applications. At the rate of resignation of nurses, the health system will be impacted and patient care will be compromised.
50 nurses resigned, applied to resign and took EOL so far starting this year.
There are 136 doctors in JDWNRH. The EOL system in the hospital resumed after a two years break and there has been a flood of applications.
The EOL system resumed since many nurses and doctors expressed that they need to go for up gradation and some are leaving to accompany their spouses abroad.
The Bhutanese talked to the chest specialist leaving and when asked why she was leaving she said she will be doing a course abroad in the time and she has also got a contract offer abroad.
She said that other doctors are going on EOL to go abroad for studies and some have job contracts abroad.