The condition of service can only be improved when we have enough manpower because if one doctor does the work of three doctors then you are not likely to give your best.
The issue of exit replacement is something that the government must develop a realistic policy. If you give me 10 doctors and two leave this month, you should give me one month’s notice, if they are going to retire they should have informed three months earlier.
So I should ask for standby replacement for those people once they leave. The essence of notification is for the system to prepare replacement but what we find is that even when staff tender resignation there is no replacement for two, three months.
So the reality is that when doctors are suspended or sacked, it is their contemporaries that are punished because they suspend the doctor, for instance, you will only not pay him for the work he has not done but you will not bring a replacement to do his job, so his contemporaries around there will have to make up for the deficit and that will put a weakness in the system.
If the government finds it so easy to terminate and sack a doctor they should also be quick to replace the appointment.
We have a lot of doctors in the country, that are jobless, and are seeking employment. There is no room for the government to give an excuse that they do not have a replacement.
The truth of the matter is that people make the issue of replacement so difficult if you are budgeted for 100 doctors and in the middle of the year it is 50 doctors, are you going to return the remaining 50 doctors’ salary?
What we see is when the government is trying to save the cost by not replacing then when something goes wrong.
Currently, what we have is a lot of senior officers in service are being made to do the work of a junior officer.
Of course, that will not bring satisfaction. So, the exit replacement system has to be improved, the condition of service need to be improved, remuneration has to look into compared to best practices all over the world.
The government needs to empower the private sector. Most of these developed countries that we talk about, more of the health care is being serviced by private institutions whereas the reverse is the case here.
In South Africa, for instance, you won’t just go to a public hospital when you have not been to the private hospital.
So the government should make available such loans for the private individual so that they also can help improve the condition of service and can help grow the infrastructure. The government can look at the issue of tax relief for doctors.