Bahrain’s doctors asked to pick work domain
Manama , July 13, 2011
Bahrain's doctors have been given a 30-day ultimatum to decide whether they want to work in the public or private sector.
In a major overhaul of Bahrain's health service intended to improve the quality of care, authorities announced yesterday (July 12) that government doctors would no longer be allowed to operate or work in private clinics.
They now have until August 11 to decide whether to quit their jobs at the Health Ministry and go private full-time, or abandon their work in the private sector to remain in the government health service.
Once the 30 days are up, the Health Ministry will launch a recruitment drive to fill positions left vacant.
It is hoped the new-look health service will be fully operational within the next six months.
"This is to enable consultants who wish to continue to work under the ministry to give the best services to patients," said Health Ministry public and international relations director Abdulaziz Alrafaei.
"This is also for the optimum utilisation of human and material facilities at the ministry's disposal and to reduce waiting times for patients who attend outpatient departments."
The decision will affect government doctors at Salmaniya Medical Complex, the Psychiatric Hospital, maternity hospitals and all health centres.
Alrafaei said the orders were based on a ministerial decision issued by Human Rights and Social Development Minister and Acting Health Minister Dr Fatima Al Balooshi.
"The interest of the patients is paramount in our minds and we feel the consultants should be giving more time to advise them.
Mr Alrafaei said this would also mean that those attending private sector facilities would then have their operations and other procedures conducted at the same hospitals, rather than at government facilities.
He added this would greatly reduce stress for consultants, who currently see large numbers of patients in both private and government facilities.
"The time they save will give them the opportunity to stay abreast of the latest developments in medical research and maintain a high level of professionalism in the face of severe competition," he said.
It also means consultants in government facilities can spend more time training doctors working under their supervision. "The implementation of this decision will stop any abuse of the ministry's resources and materials," added Alrafaei.
"In the long term, we will save tremendously on costs so that the savings could be better used for the development of health services.
"There have constantly been complaints from patients who attend government facilities that they are being unfairly treated at the cost of private patients, so this step will get rid of those complaints as well."
Patients who use a private doctor, but require access to government facilities for operations, will have their cases reviewed by a new technical committee. – TradeArabia News Service