RCSC says delinking will have to go through Parliament
The health minister Lyonpo Dechen Wangmo said that one of the major reforms that the government is planning to bring in the health sector is to merge Jigme Dorji Wangchuk National Referral Hospital (JDWNRH), Gelephu regional referral hospital and Mongar Regional Referral Hospital and de-link them from the Royal Civil Service Commission to obtain full autonomy in terms of human resources.
“Currently, given the design of the system, specialists at the JDWNRH are restricted to move from their base to handle critical cases at Gelephu regional referral hospital or Mongar Regional Referral Hospital, which affects service delivery. If possible, we would also like to increase the number of specialist services in most of the hospitals but we are already falling short of specialists in the country,” said the health minister.
Lyonpo Dechen Wangmo added that such a merger will ensure effective and efficient use of the limited resources available in the country. It becomes difficult for the general public who has to come all the way to JDWNRH to avail specialist services.
“We plan to make all the three referral hospitals autonomous to ensure efficiency and unaffected service delivery. Delinking the referral hospitals and granting autonomy cannot be done overnight. Lots of research and assessment will have to be undertaken to achieve our aspiration of people-centric care,” said Lyonpo.
Concepts called autonomy with de-link for civil servants will be followed to achieve the objective.
The idea of more autonomy for JDNWRH started from the first elected government which recommended more autonomy.
The RCSC Organization Development exercise of 2014-15 recommended merging the three hospitals together and providing autonomy from the ministry of health.
The previous government implemented an aspect of this by giving autonomy to the JDWNRH.
It wanted to corporatize the JDNWRH which would mean that the government would still pay for medical expenses but there would be a corporate structure whereby the JDWNRH could pay better salaries to its staff and ensure more accountability.
This, however, became a political football with the then Opposition party falsely claiming that it would mean people would have to pay for medical services.
The current government invited the RCSC to be a part of its merger and delinking exercise but RCSC chose not to join as it is a constitutional body, but RCSC said that it will review the report submitted by the government.
A RCSC official said that as per the Civil Service Act the delinking of any agency from the RCSC will have to go through Parliament.