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Doctors heap skepticism on SERHA's concerns over lengthy working hours
2012-10-14 18:11:21 | (0 Comments)
The Jamaica Medical Doctors’ Association (JMDA) says it views with scepticism concerns raised by the South East Regional Health Authority (SERHA) over the lengthy working hours of medical practitioners.
Chairman of the SERHA, Littleton Shirley
Addressing the opening of the 42nd island conference of the Nurses Association of Jamaica on Friday, chairman of the SERHA, Littleton Shirley, expressed concern that long working hours have been straining medical professionals and compromising the delivery of health care. He said a better way of rotating staff must be attained to reduce the long work hours and the risk of fatigue, human error and high stress levels.
However, the JMDA is cynical about the comments raised by Shirley. In a response to the concerns raised by Shirley, the JMDA says it is not unusual for healthcare professionals to work long hours.
In a letter to The Gleaner, president Dr Dane Miller, said the situation faced by the health sector not be solved by simply adjusting staff levels. He says there are several issues, which have been compromising the delivery of health care.
According to Dr Miller, the problems facing the health sector are compounded by the high attrition rate of professionals, which results in a shortage of practitioners. He says this has placed a strain on the professionals who remain in public service.
Dr Miller adds that the conditions under which medical professionals work remains poor, noting that practitioners generally lack access to basic medical equipment. He also complained about the inordinately long time professionals have to wait for confirmatory investigations and lab and radiologic investigations.
He says the JMDA is wary of the sudden focus on medical professionals’ fatigue levels and questioned if the raising of the issue was being used to shift focus away from talks on cutting the public sector wage bill, which is a critical objective of the Government’s negotiation with the International Monetary Fund.
Source: The Gleaner/Power 106 News
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