Many medical staff, regular and on contract, are leaving their jobs at the hospitals.
In the last 8 months from 1 January to 31 August 160 members of the medical and health group separated from the civil service and another 71 went on EOL bringing the total to 231 of them.
Of this group 3 medical doctors have separated while another 11 have gone on EOL. 40 Nurses have separated and another 30 have gone on EOL. From past experience most of the doctors and nurses going on EOL do not come back.
There are even more doctors and nurses applying for resignation or EOL.
The Ministry of Health (MoH) is yet to find replacements for those who have left, but it will be arranged through single window recruitment in January 2023, and through the annual transfer exercise, which is currently under review.
The Chief Human Resource Officer CHRO of MoH said the health ministry is aware that many are leaving their jobs.
“As of now, we do not have strategies, but we do have plans to develop a strategy to retain those staff leaving their profession,” the CHRO said.
In terms of the impact on the health services, he said, it will not have a huge impact on health services, as a replacement (regular recruitment) will be provided by January 2023 followed by contract recruitment if the replacement does not meet regular recruitment.
He said specialized doctors have not left except for one or two doctors in JDWNRH who are on EOL. However, in the dzongkhag hospitals in need of specialized doctors, only the experienced ones will be deployed from a nearby hospital.
Although there will not be a significant impact on providing the health services, however, the medical people leaving is quite alarming, and it is a concern since their job is very critical and is directly related to human care, he said.
He said hospitals in other dzongkhags are not much affected unlike in JDWNRH where experienced nurses from Operation Theatre, Intensive Care Unit, and other departments are leaving which has a direct impact on services.
An official from JDWNRH said many skilled and trained nurses are resigning, which is a serious concern. Nurses are required and there is an issue of retention.
“We don’t know how to retain our nurses, but we have informed the health ministry of this issue,” said the official.
The official said something has to be done to retain nurses otherwise, down the line, the quality of care will be affected.
CHRO, MoH also said, in terms of doctors in JDWNRH, there are residents and doctors who are undergoing Masters in MD in the Khesar Gyalpo University of Medical Sciences of Bhutan (KGUMSB), but other dzongkhags may suffer and will be left with no doctors.
There are 13 doctors who are doing Masters in Doctor at KGUMSB for four years. And it has caused a shortage of doctors in Ranjung in Trashigang, Khamdang in Trashiyangtse, and recently, one contract doctor was sent to Lhamoizingkha.
The Chief Medical Officer (CMO) of Mongar Regional Hospital said so far, no medical staff have resigned nor taken EOL, but there must be a few who are planning to take EOL or resign. Currently, there is no issue but if any doctors or nurses leave like in JDWNRH then it is going to be challenging.
The CMO of Gelephu Regional Hospital said there are a few general nurses who already left their jobs, and as per the hearsay, there are some more nurses who are planning to leave.
He said the numbers are not significant now, so they cannot say about the immediate impact on the services. But if more nurses are planning to leave or if they leave then definitely there will be a huge impact in rendering the medical services. He said even if one specialist leaves the hospital, there is going to be a huge impact on medical care, and it is the same with the specialized nurses leaving.