Sun | Oct 21, 2018

What of the responsibility of doctors and nurses?

Published:Saturday | January 10, 2015 | 12:00 AM


Do doctors and nurses actually think they have no responsibility for the state of the health system in Jamaica? I have been listening to the discourse in the media this week and I am just appalled by the lack of responsibility taken by this group for some of the problems being faced. They seem to want to put everything squarely at the foot of the Government.

Doctors Shane Alexis and Winston Dawes should be ashamed of themselves, for, in the past, they repeatedly and still continuously try to justify the disgusting behaviour of doctors by claiming that they do not have enough to work with and so it is okay for them to take their frustrations out on the patients and treat them in whatever way they please.

Dr Dawes is right about one thing and it is that no one is held accountable when the health care meted out to patients deteriorates - that includes doctors and nurses. Whenever there is any attempt to discipline a colleague of theirs for bad behaviour, the Medical Association of Jamaica, Jamaica Medical Doctors Association and Nurses Association of Jamaica jump in and suddenly there is a 'public campaign', which we all know is strike action but they are never honest enough to say.

I was also very tickled by the claim that they will have to take action if there is no increase in the health budget. I recall some years ago a doctor claiming millions in one month for on-call allowance for which he would have worked for 24 hours each day for the month to be able to make that kind of money. Doctors must be superhuman. This is the kind of behaviour that is adding to the deterioration of the health sector and that they do not want changed because it benefits them. Not to mention the millions the Government has to pay out for malpractice suits because of doctors' mistakes.

While the Government does have a major role to play in fixing the problems of the health sector, other groups and persons, including members of the public, must stop pretending as if they are not also a part of the problem.