…𝑻𝒉𝒆 𝑴𝒊𝒏𝒊𝒔𝒕𝒆𝒓 𝒔𝒕𝒓𝒆𝒔𝒔𝒆𝒅 𝒕𝒉𝒂𝒕 𝒘𝒉𝒊𝒍𝒆 𝒂𝒕𝒕𝒓𝒊𝒕𝒊𝒐𝒏 𝒓𝒆𝒎𝒂𝒊𝒏𝒔 𝒂 𝒔𝒊𝒈𝒏𝒊𝒇𝒊𝒄𝒂𝒏𝒕 𝒄𝒐𝒏𝒄𝒆𝒓𝒏 𝒇𝒐𝒓 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝑴𝒐𝑯, 𝒔𝒆𝒓𝒗𝒊𝒄𝒆 𝒅𝒆𝒍𝒊𝒗𝒆𝒓𝒚 𝒉𝒂𝒔 𝒏𝒐𝒕 𝒚𝒆𝒕 𝒃𝒆𝒆𝒏 𝒂𝒅𝒗𝒆𝒓𝒔𝒆𝒍𝒚 𝒂𝒇𝒇𝒆𝒄𝒕𝒆𝒅
By Phurpa Wangmo
The Ministry of Health (MoH) has been grappling with an approximate 7-8 percent attrition rate, raising concerns about potential disruptions in health services. Notably, the Jigme Dorji Wangchuck National Referral Hospital (JDWNRH) stands at a higher attrition rate of 12 percent, as highlighted by Health Minister Dasho Dechen Wangmo during the 51st Meet the Press on October 27.
In response to the escalating issue, Minister outlined several strategic initiatives being implemented. These include the continuous monitoring of attrition, recruitment of employees on a contract basis, efforts to mobilize health workforce internally and externally, and the imposition of a mandatory 6-month notice period for resignations, effective from September 8.
Dema, who regularly visits the hospital, mentioned that the current situation is unlike anything she has experienced before. She expressed concern, stating that she hardly sees the specialist doctors and nurses now. When asked about their whereabouts, she was informed that many had left for further studies, while others had departed to work abroad.
According to Thinley, she believes that the high attrition rate and workload pressure might have contributed to her recent unpleasant experience at the hospital. During her last visit, one of the doctors reprimanded her for asking questions about her health and dietary concerns in relation to her illness. She was advised to rely on Google for information instead of expecting explanations.
Sonam Choden expressed concern, particularly regarding the increasing attrition rate among healthcare professionals. She said, “She frequently encounters new trainers and unfamiliar faces among the healthcare staff at the hospital.” Additionally, she emphasized that patients are often prescribed only paracetamol, regardless of their health concerns.
Khandu from Bumthang emphasized the importance of appreciating the tireless efforts of healthcare professionals who work tirelessly day and night. He further relayed that some doctors have disclosed their challenging schedules, with only 3-4 hours available for rest on certain days.
The Minister stressed that while attrition remains a significant concern for the MoH, service delivery has not yet been adversely affected. Moreover, the National Medical Services (NMS) is exploring the possibility of external recruitment should the attrition rate surpass 10 percent. Despite the challenges, MoH remains committed to ensuring minimal disruption to the public healthcare system.