Health minister warns intransigent doctors

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Lüderitz

Minister of Health and Social Services Dr Bernard Haufiku has called on ambulance drivers and doctors at Lüderitz State Hospital to fulfill their duties without fail, as people’s lives depend on them.

He reminded hospital staff this week that dealing with people’s lives requires commitment and that they should under no circumstances refuse to do their duty. He made the remarks during his familiarisation visit to Lüderitz State Hospital on Wednesday.

“If you refuse to do your job, we will discharge you,” the health minister said, with specific reference to ambulance drivers and doctors that are not fully committed to their tasks.
Haufiku said he has been inundated with SMSes from Lüderitz residents, complaining about doctors who do not do their work, but would rather sit in their cars.

This was backed up by one of the nurses, who said some doctors do not like to go and see patients at the clinic after they have visited the wards in the morning.

She said the doctors generally see only a few patients a day and are always in a hurry. She said some leave for lunch at exactly 13h00 and by 17h00 they call it a day and leave the hospital.

The nurse indicated that the hospital currently has only three doctors and sometimes when the nurses call on them to come and attend to a patient, the doctors tell them that the patients should return the following day if there is no immediate emergency.

One driver admitted that he sometimes refuses to do his duties, because it takes so long for the overtime allowances to be paid, unlike in the past when these allowances were paid on time.

The minister replied to the complaints, saying that staff allowances would be looked into by the ministry.
He further appealed to the drivers and doctors not to refuse to carry out their duties and warned that, should they ignore his directive, the ministry of health would not hesitate to dismiss them. He reminded hospital staff that they are dealing with the lives of people and must not refuse to do their jobs.

Haufiku also warned the doctors not to send patients home without thoroughly examining them. “They must do their jobs,” he said.

Responding to a complaint by a cleaner, who felt mislead by being forced to do other work in the hospital, Haufiku said the staff should stick to their job descriptions: “In medicine one has to do a job that one is trained in. If you are a cleaner, do your job as a cleaner. In the ministry of health there are no shortcuts.”

He told the staff that his ministry is going to look into all the concerns they raised.
Among others he indicated that government plans to build a new district hospital at Rosh Pinah before 2018 and a medical doctor would be deployed at there soon, as it is not always safe for patients to travel between Lüderitz and Rosh Pinah.

Haufiku also said the primary healthcare clinic, located near the hospital premises, should ideally be moved closer to the community.

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