The confrontation between the Minister of Health and the President of the Medical & Health Officers Association finally took place, during Le Grand Journal on Radio Plus on August 8.
One thing is certain, there are gray areas in the rotation system that even doctors cannot understand until now. Implemented for more than a year on a pilot basis in the emergency department, the Shift System has been in effect in all hospital departments since Tuesday, August 1.
Since then, the Ministry of Health and trade unionists have not been able to agree on the subject. This gave rise to a first confrontation between Dr Anwar Husnoo, Minister of Health, who was on the set of the program Le Grand journal de Radio Plus and Dr Vinesh Sewsurn, president of the Medical & Health Officers Association ( MHOA) who intervened by phone.
Here are the main points of disagreement between the two protagonists.
Dr Anwar Husnoo: It was the doctors who asked to review the rotation system, so that their working hours were less restrictive. With the work in rotation and the recruitment of 356 practitioners, this will lead to a shortfall for health professionals. Some people disagree, because I think it affects their wages. But they have allowances which they receive apart from their wages.
Dr Vinesh Sewsurn : It is unfair to want the public to believe that it is for a question of money that doctors are fighting when this is not the case. We are not talking about the shortfall of physicians. We are talking about our social life. Because we work more nights with the new formula.
Dr Anwar Husnoo: Before a doctor worked from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and from 4 p.m. to 9 a.m. the next day. Which was about 30 hours of work. It’s not easy to work so many hours in a row. This rotation system will be better for the patients. They will have better attention and doctors will have a better quality of social life.
Dr Vinesh Sewsurn: The current roster asks a doctor to work 179 hours instead of 132, as recommended in a Supreme Court ruling, as a doctor’s work is not comparable to that of any other profession.
With the rotation system, a doctor finds himself spending 27 out of 28 days in the hospital and has to work 16 hours at night. The night doctor finds himself taking care of three rooms of about thirty patients, not counting those of the emergency department.
Dr Anwar Husnoo: It is an exaggeration to say that a doctor has to take care of 150 patients at night. With the Shift System, he will more or less work 160 hours with his overtime which is paid.
How can doctors tell they are going to work more? If we start in the morning from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and from 4 p.m. to 8 a.m. the next day, that’s 24 hours with two shifts. But there are doctors who have three shifts: 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., 4 p.m. to midnight, and midnight to 8 a.m. So in 24 hours, they count three days. Does this make sense? You who mislead the population.
Dr Vinesh Sewsurn : The roster as it is does not comply with the law.
Dr Anwar Husnoo: The injunction not to introduce the rotation system was rejected, it was the judicial review that was postponed. Let’s not tell a story to say that it was not rejected. Regarding other cases, such as the Conciliation and Mediation Commission, Equal Opportunities Commission, and Human Rights Commission, I will abide by the court ruling.
Dr Vinesh Sewsurn : Our request for an injunction against the rotation system was not rejected in the Supreme Court. It is still there and our request for a judicial review was deferred until September 11th. You can ask our attorney.
The Ministry of Health is currently working on several projects. Among those stated by Dr Anwar Husnoo, Minister of Health:
Intensive care unit
A Neonatal ICU service in each hospital establishment. Rs 170 million will be allocated to this project, in order to provide hospitals with certain facilities which they do not currently have. A pediatric intensive care unit should also see the light of day.
Hospital for cancer treatment
Long announced, the specialized hospital project for the treatment of cancer will reach a new level, with the arrival in Mauritius, in one or two weeks of consultants from the Hospital Services Consultancy Corporation Limited (HSCC) of India. This project has become a necessity as the oncology department at Victoria Hospital has had its day. According to the Minister of Health, the number of cancer patients is increasing, especially among women.
With the recruitment of new doctors and the decentralization of services, patients will no longer have to go to hospitals for their appointments, especially those with noncommunicable diseases, explained Dr Anwar Husnoo.
These services will be available in Community Health Centers and Area Health Centers, among others, where a doctor will be present every day instead of two to three times a week as has been the case so far. These health centers will also have specialists on specific days. Patients will no longer have to queue at the hospital.
To avoid loss of records, E-Health will be introduced on a pilot basis at Dr AG Jeetoo Hospital. The service will then be gradually extended to the different departments of the hospital, then to the five Mediclinics and the 22 health centers attached to the Jeetoo hospital.
Once this step has been taken and all the problems resolved, E-Health will be replicated in other regional hospitals. Through this system, it will be easier to find a patient’s file regardless of the health establishment where they have visited.
In order to solve the problem of storage condition of drugs, the Ministry of Health is also working on the construction of a Central Supply Division. This will also be responsible for the distribution of drugs.