Sixteen young doctors have been dismissed from Port-of-Spain
General Hospital, allegedly without any reason being given
for their dismissal.
Yesterday, five senior doctors called on Health Minister
John Rahael to say why the junior doctors were fired without
The doctors also are calling on Rahael to explain why
he was creating an artificial shortage of
doctors in the country, in that it appears that local
doctors were not being hired by the regional health authorities.
Senior doctors at the press conference at the Medical
Board offices at the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex
(EWMSC), Mt Hope, were Dr Neil Singh, secretary of the
Medical Council of T&T; Dr David Bratt, council member;
Dr Hughley Hanoman, clinical director for the Department
of Medicine at the EWMSC; Dr Ramesh Mahabir, V-P of T&T
Medical Association; and Dr Balkaran Ramkissoon, president
of the T&T Medical Association.
Mahabir said on Friday morning, the 16 junior doctors
were called into the administration office at Port-of-Spain
General Hospital and told they would not have a job next
He said these doctors had recently completed their internship
programmes, were interviewed for their current jobs, and
had been working for a month.
Mahabir said when the fired doctors began working a month
ago, they were doing so without contracts. He noted that
this was not unusual since junior doctors at the North-West
and South-West Regional Health Authorities took a while
to actually get contracts.
He also said it had come to the attention of the board
that 13 interns at San Fernando General were not given
jobs after completing their internship.
In the context of claims that the Government was against
hiring local doctors, Mahabir noted that at the two general
hospitals Port-of-Spain and San Fernandothere
were 125 non-nationals employed as doctors.
The five senior doctors all stressed that they had nothing
against foreign doctors working in T&T, but insisted
that Rahael must tell them why an an artificial
shortage of doctors was being created in the health
Mahabir also pointed out that the parallel medical board,
created through an act of Parliament to allow United Nations
and Cuban doctors to work in T&T, would cease to exist
Singh also alluded to the amendments to the Medical Board
Act, currently before Parliament, that sought to increase
the power of the Health Minister to appoint seven out
of 11 members to the Medical Council.
As a temporary UNC Senator, Singh had waded into Rahael
for these amendments, saying he wanted to control the
council, which had been run by doctors for more than 130
Yesterday, he said he did not believe that the firing
of the young doctors had anything to do with him being
Singh said it was just an opportunity to present the case
of the Medical Board to the Members of Parliament who
had to vote on the bill.
Hanoman said shortages persisted throughout the health
sector in terms of doctors. He said there was need for
five doctors in the wards at Mt Hope, seven in Accident
and Emergency and four in surgery.
Ramkissoon said at San Fernando Hospital, vacancies existed
in every department. He did not produce any figures. He
noted, however, that a number of surgeries scheduled for
last week were cancelled because there were no anaesthetist
available and that this would happen again this week.
Singh also noted that Rahael had asked the Medical Board
to register 20 Cuban doctors who were due in the country
in a few weeks time.
He asked: How can we entertain such a request when
our own local doctors are being denied employment?
Singh again questioned why it was that local doctors were
not being given jobs.
the parallel board only comes into to play when there
is an acute shortage of doctors here.
it be correctly said that there is an acute shortage of
doctors here, when our local doctors are being denied
Calls to Rahaels cellphone went unanswered.