Much has been said and done for the junior doctors in the national health care system. But the truth is, the systemic dysfunction of the public health care employment system does not stop at the junior level. It encompasses top to bottom, and probably across the board in some ways. Logically, these matters do not stop at a certain level.
I am a certified medical specialist working for the Ministry of Health (MOH), and I have gone through all the phases, from being a houseman, medical officer, trainee specialist, and now, a specialist. While the general public and non-specialist doctors might think that all is well when one gets to this level, they couldn’t be more wrong.
The only difference between specialists and the junior doctors is that we come from an older generation that is less vocal and more conforming. Hence, there isn’t much “noise”, so to speak. The only viable option is the one many have taken, quit public service.
There is a relatively new issue, but an unnecessary one. It is generally well-known that medical specialists are still very much needed in the public sector, due to disproportionate specialist-to-patient ratios, but there are no posts for us in many tertiary hospitals.
There have been many reports regarding the lack of specialists, with most patients being seen by non-specialist doctors in specialist clinics, but somehow, this glaring issue persists.
More specialist doctors cannot get the posts and placements they have applied for and are stuck in faraway states for many years. This is all because there is a lack of posts, according to the MOH and the Public Service Department. Many of us have suffered and slogged for many years, and still can’t be with our parents, loved ones, and children.
Many have to find a way out, as there are scarcely any options. This phenomenon will only get worse, and in turn, compound the issue of the lack of quality and experienced specialist care for the public health service of the nation.
It also goes to show that when specialists quit public service, the push factor is usually the compelling factor.
Please understand that I cannot reveal my identity. I am a government servant and am not able to make statements in the public sphere regarding work-related matters.
But in desperate times, CodeBlue is the only channel people pay heed to, when it comes to such matters. We have hit a dead end when it comes to “proper” channels. Thank you for giving us a voice, CodeBlue.
CodeBlue is publishing this letter anonymously because civil servants are prohibited from writing to the press without prior authorisation.
- This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of CodeBlue.