Wed | Aug 12, 2020

Disturbed by the shortage of physicians

Published:Tuesday | July 14, 2020 | 12:23 AM


I read with deep concern the Sunday Gleaner lead story about the decision by a number of hospitals not to hire more doctors. Furthermore, they also terminated the services of many doctors, including specialists.

It does not make sense – is it that we should slaughter cows because we cannot afford milk? Or, should farmers destroy part of their crops or plant less during a famine? Desperate times call for desperate measures, it is often said. One hopes, however, that any such measures would alleviate and not exacerbate any crisis or situation.

We are still in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has overwhelmed the health sectors of even the most developed and technologically advanced countries, killing hundreds of thousands of people worldwide. More than ever, we require additional healthcare workers, including doctors (whose importance cannot be overemphasised) to combat COVID-19. Of critical importance also is the prudent and strategic management in deploying scarce resources.

I understand the budgetary constraints, which have been further compounded by this pandemic. But one wonders how prudent the Health Ministry’s decision to employ fewer doctors as a strategic measure to combat the COVID-19 crisis is.

Can this decision be likened in any way to an authoritative body advising farmers to plant less to resolve food shortage?