TT: Work to rule quacks doing patients a favor
THE situation at San Fernando General Hospital is a sad illustration of two recurrent problems facing the public health sector.I don't see what the big deal is. Doctors in TT forgo their duty all the time. In fact, sometimes the best thing some of them can do for patients is forego their duty; that way, at least, they don't do any harm.
In the face of long lines at the Accident and Emergency Department, doctors are denying that they are working to rule. The fact is, however, that they have been threatening to “forego,” as they euphemistically put it, working overtime or being on call.
This is because no negotiations with the joint negotiating team have taken place in the past month over the salaries of senior doctors, registrars and consultants. Junior doctors’ negotiations, however, have been concluded, and the result is that junior doctors are being paid more than registrars and only a fraction less than consultants.
Apparently, this is an unbearable affront to the senior doctors’ dignity. Head of the Obstetrics and Gynaecology Unit Dr Jehan Ali was reported yesterday as saying, “Foregoing our duties will cause chaos in the health system. We know that, but the Minister of Health should try to resolve the situation, because nowhere in the world are subordinates paid more than their seniors.”
Maybe so, but the senior doctors must be perfectly well aware that this is merely a temporary anomaly and not a permanent situation, and that when negotiations are concluded they will once again be paid more than their juniors, and will also no doubt receive backpay.
This is not to say that all doctors in TT are quacks. Oh no. Rather, it is to acknowledge that good doctors are like gold in the hospitals, and people are taking their lives in their hands seeing the quacks. All of this makes me wonder how many lives were actually saved by this work to rule. Bet it's a lot.