The policy of hiring doctors, according to the foreign affairs minister, is not new and has existed since 1990
The Member of Parliament (MP) from the Kanglung-Samkhar-Udzorong constituency in Trashigang, Dr Samdrup R. Wangchuk questioned foreign affairs minister Dr Tandi Dorji on the financial implication of the government’s initiative to hire 20 medical specialists and four sub-specialists from Bangladesh.
During Question and Answer session of the National Assembly yesterday, the MP said hiring 20 specialists and four sub-specialists from Bangladesh at monthly salaries of Nu 345,000 and Nu 311,000 respectively would total to Nu 6900,000 and Nu 1,244,000 per month.
Instead of hiring specialists from outside, MP Dr Samdrup R. Wangchuk said the money can be used to train our national doctors or make use of services of specialists who left the job, which would be a long term solution.
He urged the government to consider the long term implications instead of the short-term measures due to the huge financial implications for hiring from outside.
Responding to the query, foreign affairs minister Dr Tandi Dorji said the government had to hire from other countries due to lack of specialists in the hospitals.
The specialists, meanwhile, are planned to be placed at the Jigme Dorji Wangchuck National Referral Hospital, Mongar, Gelephu and some other district hospitals.
Dr Tandi Dorji said the policy of hiring doctors is not new and it has existed since 1990.
Deliberating on the inadequacy of specialists, the minister said doctors were not willing to come even if high salaries were paid to them compared to the in-country doctors.
Earlier specialists were paid USD 1,500, then later USD 2,015 and now it is USD 3,500. The minister said the specialists from Bangladesh could earn Nu 300,000 to Nu 400,000 in a week.
“There is a past precedence of hiring doctors and the government is continuing it. If we don’t get doctors from outside, how can we provide health services to those who are sick at present,” the minister asked, adding there were no specialists in Bhutan dealing in radiotherapy, Intensive Care Unit and emergencies.
Lyonpo Dr Tandi Dorji also said that the in-country doctors were trained outside the country and even within the country.
He added that the government is planning to review and change the health policy and in the next one to two years have a health act.
“The government will look into provisions for retired doctors to join the service and increase the intake of MBBS graduates. The government plans to train more in country doctors in the country in the future so health services are provided better,” the minister added.
Thukten Zangpo from Thimphu