Bahrain's medical staff shortage puts 'lives at risk'
Manama, February 24, 2014
Understaffing at Bahrain's main hospital is putting the lives of pregnant women and their unborn children at risk, according to campaigners.
They said doctors often work for more than 20 hours without breaks, warning it could lead to fatal errors, said a report in the Gulf Daily News (GDN), our sister publication.
It comes after the Bahrain Medical Society (BMS) received a letter from a group of doctors, who claim they work extended hours to treat hundreds of pregnant women at Salmaniya Medical Complex (SMC) obstetrics and gynaecology department and Jidhafs Maternity Hospital.
"Two doctors working at the Jidhafs Maternity Hospital informed us they were working between 17 and 32 hours without proper breaks," said BMS president Dr Maha Al Kawari.
"This is against their rights and they are under tremendous pressure to do their job and we can expect medical errors because of their condition."
Dr Al Kawari said the department receives 150 cases daily, including those referred from health centres and private hospitals.
It also deals with around 30 cases related to pregnancy complications.
"This is the main hospital in the country that receives referral cases from all the health centres in the five governorates," she said.
"This department is understaffed by 50 per cent, which means medics are in a rush to clear the cases.
"Female doctors or staff working in the department also avail the maternity leave or breast feeding hours, which leaves behind only few doctors supervising hundreds of patients.
"There are also cases of early pregnancy, abortion and other complications such as sickle cell anaemia that has to be treated carefully."
She said the doctors have also sent the letter to the Health Ministry.
"We request the ministry to make some arrangements immediately to handle this staff crisis, which gradually will affect patients," she added.
"We do not want any medical errors, but these doctors are expected to do it because of their working condition."
Health Ministry officials were unavailable for comment when contacted by the GDN yesterday. - TradeArabia News Service