Sun | Dec 11, 2016

Not going there!

Published:Sunday | October 12, 2014 | 12:00 AM
Dr Shane Alexis (right), president of Medical Association of Jamaica, and his vice-president, Professor Marvin Reid, at a Gleaner Editors' Forum last week. -Rudolph Brown/Photographer

Money, working conditions keep doctors away from some hospitals

Erica Virtue, Senior Gleaner Writer

Money, poor working conditions, and the unwillingness to toil in unsafe environments have been cited as some of the main reasons why several public-health facilities are short of doctors.

President of the Medical Association of Jamaica, Dr Shane Alexis, said repeated requests have been made by senior officers from various hospitals for additional help, but to no avail.

As a result, some hospitals remain undermanned, resulting in longer waiting time for persons seeking medical care.

"The clear statement is that there have been several requests from senior medical officers across the country over many years. But because there are financial strictures on the part of the Ministry of Health and, by extension, the regional health authorities, they have been finding it difficult to meet these requirements," argued Alexis at a Gleaner Editors' Forum last week.

He noted that medical personnel at some institutions have been subject to threats against their lives, which are taken very seriously, especially for those who work at hospitals in volatile areas.

death threats

"When someone tells you they are going to come back and kill you, you have to take it seriously. We were not trained to deal with those conditions in medical school. I don't think anybody can really work under those conditions, especially when we see the crime in our society.

"These things impact on willingness. So, on one hand there may be financial constraints that may be limiting, while on the other hand persons may be unwilling to take the offered pay or accept the working conditions," explained Alexis.

The regional health bodies which oversee public-health facilities are responsible for the day-to-day administration of these institutions and the hiring of medical personnel.