Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has issued a strict warning to government physicians and nurses to do their respective duties properly or to quit their jobs. “The Ministry of Health should conduct a survey to find out how many patients go to government hospitals and why doctors are not present at hospitals (district and upazila levels). If the transferred doctors do not engage in service then put them aside after making them OSDs. We do not need them; we will appoint new doctors,” she said on Sunday.
While visiting the Health and Family Welfare Ministry at the Bangladesh Secretariat, the prime minister also asked the authorities concerned to introduce biometric attendance systems at all hospitals to ensure 100% attendance of all physicians, report BSS and UNB. The Prime Minister’s stern stance on doctors dodging duties comes hard on the heels of a stunning recent finding that 40 percent of doctors remain absent from hospitals during their duty hours. In a surprise visit to 11 government hospitals and health complexes in eight districts on January 21, the Anti-Corruption Commission found 92 doctors out of a total of 230, absent from their workplaces.
In Bangladesh, people foot 67 percent of their own health bills while the government and other NGOs and charities, bear the remaining 33 percent of healthcare expenditures. Sheikh Hasina asked doctors and nurses to pay due attention when a patient comes to a hospital. “Doctors must develop a service-oriented attitude,” the premier added. She said there is an attitude among nurses that they will not serve patients after being promoted to second-class jobs. “Nurses are not supposed to just provide medicine to patients,” said the premier. The prime minister said making nurses second-class employees does not mean the government has to create another level of staff for providing services to patients.
“We do not need that second class… whoever has such an attitude does not need to be in that job,” the prime minister warned. She also emphasized bringing all hospitals under camera surveillance to ensure the security of doctors and nurses. Talking about private practice by physicians, she said doctors in Bangladesh can carry out private practice unlike many countries in the world where government physicians are not allowed to do private practice. She asked the Health Ministry to introduce the Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU) system at all district hospitals where the doctors will be able to do their private practice in government hospitals after their office hours.
The premier said those who do not engage in private practice, may be given special incentives by the government. She talked about allegations that some doctors, after office hours, carry out surgery in private hospitals till late at night. “How will they take care of patients at public hospitals in the morning? Attention should be given to this as well,” she remarked. She also asked the officials concerned to upgrade the curricula so that the doctors of the country can be at par with other doctors of the world.
The prime minister asked the Health Ministry to enhance surveillance at private medical colleges to make sure students get a proper education to become good doctors. She also asked the officials concerned to look into the matter of clinical waste management with due importance. Health and Family Welfare Minister Dr Zahid Maleque, and State Minister for Health and Family Welfare Dr M Murad Hasan, were present, among others.