Friday, 6 February 2009 11:32 AM

Doctor Resigned - More Problems

One Wednesday 4 February 2009 on the Solomon Star Online news, I read with great sadness the fact that the National Referral Hospital in Honiara has only three anaesthetists. This is not a new problem. But it is a serious problem for the last 10 years. This therefore, put our poor patients in great threat.

Additionally, it is with great sadness that the concern medical doctor resigned. This is so despite the fact that her resignation might be a personal reason or whatever reason(s). This multiplied the great threat to our poor patients back home.

This problem hence, prompts me to ask these questions:

What does the Government do about the problem, given the fact that for the last 10 years the National Referral Hospital continues to experience such problems? Second, given such a problem, what can the government do now, as this is an imminent great threat to the health of our poor-sick patients? Further, what is the problem with our medical doctors?

As an entry point, let me make it clear that the Government and other organization continue to send Solomon Islands students to do medical and related studies at overseas medical institutions. This is important in order for them to come back and work in the country to help our poor-sick people. We hope that in the near future, SIG through the responsible Ministry clearly mandates scholarships to cater for such specific field of studies. The current situation at the National Referral Hospital is clear evidence that we need more of them.

Second, I would like to go back to 1992 when there was a mass resignation of Solomon Islands medical doctors from government service. As a consequence of this problem a civil case came to court due to the appointment of a foreign doctor. The Public Service Commission appointed the foreign doctor. The fact that the foreign medical doctor came to the Solomon Islands was due to the help of the World Health Organization acted on the advice or the fact that SIG begged Word Health Organization for such a human resource. Though, the appointment was challenged in the High Court of Solomon Islands, it has very little ounce of energy. The former Chief Justice - Sir John Baptist Muria held that the foreign doctor's appointment by the Public Service Commission appointment was valid.

Third, the government has given our doctors very huge salary and allowances. Compared with other government workers, our doctors got the best to make sure medical doctors remain at our government hospitals. Sadly, not many remained. A year or two is a day or even a minute to them.

However, given the problem at hand, to remedy the situation, it is important that several things are done. I have two suggestions here. One, if the situation is so desperate then the government of the day must be forced to request private doctors. But this too has its shortfalls, among the many shortfalls, one is that its expensive. Another suggestion is to recruit a foreign doctor, as was the case in 1992 when the Government of the day contracted Dr. Roy Goonewardene (Please see Ziru v Attorney-General [1993] SBHC 13 http://www.paclii.org/sb/cases/SBHC/1993/13.html).

I think I have said much for the day.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this letter/article are those of Detone and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Solomon Times Online.

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