Doctors in the public system are bound by duty and nationalism
February 6, 2004
I have been following the issue of the doctors at the Georgetown Hospital.
It was in December 2003 that the doctors had their sickout for two days, and then they turned out on their jobs. From information gathered, the administration assured them that they would look into the issue.
It is now February 2004, and still the doctors are being pushed around. It was only a matter of time for us to see this happening again. Doesn't the management take the concerns of these doctors seriously?
It is always fit for the public and media to criticize doctors whenever they don't get immediate attention at the hospital. Do they know what these doctors have to go through?
Have the media taken a visit to where the junior doctors have to stay in at nights to take emergency calls? I have, and it's a disgrace. The basic necessities of toilet and bath are terrible. The rooms are small and windows broken. Lighting in the area is deficient. Despite this these doctors make huge sacrifices and toil to serve the public.
The doctors also have to work with outdated technologies and deficient auxillary medical services to properly manage patients. They also are grossly underpaid. Despite the fact that these doctors can leave the public system and work privately for triple and sometimes quadruple salaries, they remain in the public system bound by duty and nationalism.
There should be no surprise that over the past few years most of our local doctors have had to leave the institution to go to the Caribbean islands and other areas where they are treated with respect.
Now that the staff is depleted, remaining doctors are put under strain. Junior doctors work countless hours, have to go without meals on most occasions just to serve the public, have to work round the clock with little sleep. All this sacrifice is being made, only to be rewarded with a slap in the face from the management and the government.
Yes, the government. Does the public know that since September 2003, doctors working at the Georgetown Public Hospital are no longer entitled to duty free concessions? You pay them low salaries, they work in sub-standard conditions, you expect them to live and stay in inhabitable flats, and now you take away the little privileges that they are entitled to? Can the government get any meaner?
Ever too often we have seen in the media reports of the occasional mishaps and deaths that happen at the hospital. But we never see congratulations to the thousands and thousands of lives that are saved at the hospital.
I say to the government, treat our Guyanese doctors with dignity and pride for it is only your own Guyanese doctors and nurses that will remain to develop our dear country. Don't drive them away with whips.