Health Sector Falling Apart Due to Budget Cuts: JMDA

Doctors in the public health sector say they will not sit idly by and allow the system to continue to deteriorate.

That’s the word from President of the Jamaica Medical Doctors Association, JMDA, Dr. Dane Miller.

Speaking on Nationwide This Morning, Dr. Miller says health professionals are fed up with having to work with inadequate resources.

A doctor’s oath is to first do no harm.

But another part of that sacred covenant is to help, heal and share knowledge.

It now appears that Jamaican doctors are at their wit’s end due to a lack of resources and the JMDA President feels obliged to let the public know what’s going on.

Dr. Miller says Health Minister, Dr. Fenton Ferguson, has finally agreed to meet with his members to discuss various concerns.

One major concern surrounds a plan to drastically cut the amount of overtime hours that doctors are allowed to work.

Dr. Ferguson has called the overtime payments unsustainable.

But Dr. Miller says any cutbacks will affect the ability of hospitals to respond to emergencies and adequately care for patients.

The JMDA is also requesting greater consultation on the budget for the health sector.

Dr. Miller says there is room to reduce wasteful spending, particularly  cheap supplies that turn out to be useless.

He says healthcare should be given a larger priority in the national budget, because it impacts on the productivity of the nation.

The 2014-2015 budget for the Ministry of Health is about 35-point-6 billion dollars, an increase on paper from the previous year’s 33-billion.

But as Dr. Miller points out, with a high import bill for medicines and supplies, devaluation and inflation are taking their toll on the health industry.