Even before Lyonchhen Dasho Tshering Tobgay received the Dakyen from His Majesty The King the PM visited the Jigme Dorji Wangchuck National Referral Hospital (JDWNRH) to meet the doctors, nurses and medical staff and he also asked them to submit recommendations from their side.
Lyonchhen said, “There are many sectors that require immediate government attention and one of them is the National Referral hospital which is the referral hospital for all 20 Dzongkhags. Because of various factors there is a solid risk of it imploding and this is common knowledge. This is why I have visited the hospital three times.”
Lyonchhen said the management, doctors and nurses have already given their recommendations and they are working on it.
“I am happy to say the recommendations are very reasonable and doable, most of them are, and I am already studying them and am going to work on them,” assured the PM.
“Morale is low in the hospital and this is why I have been visiting there repeatedly to tell them that we are concerned and understand their grievances and challenges and we want to work together.”
The PM said that in terms of attrition a significant number have already submitted their resignation and they seem to be well on their way processing papers also.
“But what I have told them is that in the interest of looking after and strengthening the hospital, in the interest of continuing delivery of health services, in the interest of saving Bhutanese lives, I am available to meet all the nurses in general and those who have already decided to go.”
“And I want to plead with them and beg them to consider continuing their service given how critical their services are at this juncture.”
The PM said he told them that they are making sacrifice but this is what is required if we have to protect and save Bhutanese lives through health system. He said their sacrifices are required.
He said he told them he understands that a few of them have extraordinary reasons that requires them to go to Australia and as a fellow Bhutanese and as their PM he would support them to go, but he would appeal to all those who can continue delivering the good services and he has told the chief nurses that he wants to appeal to the nurses to give him a chance.
“Please don’t let me fail before I even start. Give me a chance and let us succeed together.”
The recommendations are on how to decongest the hospital, procurement rules for purchase of drugs and emergency drugs, sufficient financing for drugs, a proper career pathway for health professionals like nurses, doctors etc. which is predictable and attractive and they are willing to provide extended services beyond normal for remuneration, recruitment of retired health workers etc.
“I am excited as if we can fix JDWNRH we can fix all the hospitals in the health system and if we can fix the health system then we can fix the education system, we can fix the economy and our infrastructure,” said Lyonchhen.