Doctors defy MoH ordersWhat comes as a defiance of an instruction from the Ministry of Health (MoH), doctors working at government hospitals have refused to attend to patients at the Outpatient Department till 5pm, saying the diktat came without proper review of the situation.
What comes as a defiance of an instruction from the Ministry of Health (MoH), doctors working at government hospitals have refused to attend to patients at the Outpatient Department till 5pm, saying the diktat came without proper review of the situation.
The MoH in September instructed government hospitals in all 75 districts to extend the OPD services till 5pm.
Currently, hospitals run OPD services till 2pm. The decision to extend the OPD service was taken in view of easing the problems members of public were facing.
A statement issued by Government Doctors’ Association of Nepal (Godan) says the decision was taken without reviewing the current sanctioned position of doctors. Since the MoH directive lacks clarity about additional incentives the medical practitioners will be entitled to, once the OPD services are extended till 5pm, we cannot comply with the instruction, said the statement.
“At present the government doctors are working over 49 hours a week—9am-2pm at OPD—and are on 24-hour on-call duty,” reads the Godan statement. “Adding up the ward rounds in the morning and afternoon would increase the duty hours. Duty hours are not clear in hospitals outside Kathmandu Valley. In rural areas, one doctor has to attend to patients for months,” it added.
The Godan statement says that the government took the decision without doing proper homework “because it does not mention additional perks and benefits for doctors”.
Dr Badri Rijal, president of Godan, said the decision made by the MoH is a move to exploit doctors. “The best thing would be to review the sanctioned positions of MoH and provide incentives. The current position for doctors is based on the 1990 population size,” said Dr Rijal. “The population has increased significantly, but there are only over 1,200 government doctors.”
“We have drawn the attention of the MoH and minister for health to our concerns,” he said.