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Medical emergency

Medical emergency

By Harry Russell | Mon, January 21, 2013 - 12:01 PM

THERE IS a big “bassa bassa” now involving the world’s second-oldest profession – those who take the Hippocratic Oath, oversee the last oath and close your eyes. People are concerned because they say that those who are doctors do not want other people to come into their briar patch and steal their joy.

The first problem, according to my friend, is that the Barbados Association of Medical Practitioners that registers the doctors says a person must attend the University of the West Indies for five years and take several exams. Having passed these exams, the student must then undertake a year of internship at a designated hospital before he or she can be let loose on the public to say whether you or I have arthritis or not.

But hospitals in the Caribbean can only cater to a certain number of interns per year, and today that seems to be the problem. There are more students graduating after five years than there are openings for interns at our hospitals and that Government can afford to support. All well and good, but those who pass the five years of tests with flying colours and are unable to obtain internship are in no man’s land, like a rat without a tail.

They have a certificate and you can hail them as Dr So and So, but they cannot practise on a green monkey. So they are doctors but cannot work as doctors. Waste of elite human resources!

What some venerable doctors are saying, “Cut your coat according to your cloth,” makes sense! Otherwise we will have a lot of Doctor Boobees. Or say that when a student finishes his exams after five years she/he can hang up his or her shingle. Or are you saying that the university’s training after five years is not sufficient to qualify a student to access the public?

Then there are those who are ready to ape what the former Mother Country is contemplating. A student must spend four more years after graduating so as to get a general practitioner’s licence. This is to happen here in the Caribbean.

You mean that we were operating all this time in the dark after we chased away most of the foreign doctors? Even so, there have been no orchestrated complaints such as we have every now and then about lawyers “tiefing” clients’ funds.

Do you mean that after 58 years of producing hundreds of doctors who have saved lives and treated thousand of patients you are dissatisfied with the results? For the enlightenment of the public, then, bad results should be published.

Over the years mistakes have been made, but here in the Caribbean we are no worse than in other places. Or are you suggesting that a five-year training stint at the University of the West Indies is insufficient or inadequate?

My opinion is, either you change the law so that when a student completes five years successfully, he or she can work in the private sector; guarantee those who apply and succeed in studying medicine an internship at a hospital in the Caribbean; or cut your coat according to your cloth.

According to one newspaper, half the voting population is “polluted” or are “political clowns”. I think that our Prime Minister, whose command of the English language I admire, should set a better tone for the upcoming elections.

I agree with the Governor of the Central Bank when he said that growth has to be led by the private sector. However, we see no effort to ensure that this happens. There is a contradiction; instead, we see Government stimulating the economy by injecting $40 million and more a month that does not come from taxation. That is stimulus, but no growth. In fact, the private sector is haemorrhaging daily, job-wise; those without work are finding other ways to survive, making the [police] commissioner’s job more difficult.

• Harry Russell is a banker. Email quijote70@gmail.com

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