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Medical Doctors Association questions government's motives behind task force

Published:Monday | May 4, 2015 | 2:23 PM

President of the Jamaica Medical Doctors Association (JMDA) Dr Alfred Dawes is today questioning the government's motives behind setting up a task force to look into the working arrangements in the public health system.

The JMDA pulled out of the task force last week and doctors threatened to withdraw services after reports that a shift system is to be implemented in the health sector on July 1.

This has been denied by the Permanent Secretary in the Health Ministry, Dr Kevin Harvey who expressed disappointment about the pull out of the doctors from the task force in a press release on Friday.

In that release, Harvey said the task force was established to develop recommendations as to the feasibility of, approach and design of, revised working hours for physicians in the public health sector.

However, Dawes says no members have received terms of reference for the task force.

He says there were no representatives from nursing and paramedical services present on the task force.

Dawes says supply chain managers were not an integral part of the reform process even though problems have been identified with the medical supplies in hospitals and clinics.

The JMDA president also says that all government doctors on the task force are strongly opposed to any shift system before certain measures have been put in place.

As a result Dawes, says it appears that the task force was mainly convened to review working arrangements in the public health system was mainly convened to rubber-stamp a plan to implement the shift system.