Health Minister Senator Johnathan La Crette has announced the employment of eight (8) new physicians at the St. George’s General Hospital.
This as the government seeks to enhance the operations of the hospital, specifically at the Accident and Emergency (A&E) department, and reduce the long waiting time often endured by persons seeking medical attention.
According to Sen. La Crette, the newly employed doctors, who recently graduated from St. George’s University (SGU) have “completed their internship programme” and are currently working as “house officers.”
The Health Minister, told the last sitting of the Upper House of Parliament that the new physicians are being “rotated around various departments so that they can find their bearings before we have them get a taste of the Accident and Emergency Department.”
He described the development as “a big win” for the administration of healthcare services at the St. George’s General Hospital, noting that “we have not had such a huge number in a long time.”
“Generally, we would have one (1) or two (2), so, this is really “a big win,” declared Sen. La Crette, who revealed that the government is looking to hire more manpower by year-end.
“In December, we would also have another batch of (medical doctors) graduating (from SGU); so, from my medical team, we feel as though that 15 (or) 16 doctors would be enough to have a rotation process going,” said the Health Minister, who is optimistic that increased human resource and a rotation plan would significantly reduce the waiting time.
He said consideration is being given to having a “12-hour shift per person…and to have two doctors on call at the Accident and Emergency department before the end of the year or early next year, God’s willing.”
Additionally, Sen. La Crette said that to date, “16 of the established mission-critical positions” have already been filled, and the government is hoping that “by November when we come to the new budget cycle that all 21 Mission-critical positions will be filled.”
Driven by a lack of promotional opportunities and career advancements, healthcare workers dominate the list of persons who migrate seeking better opportunities.
Noting the existing challenges, Labour Senator Andre Lewis, who welcomed the hiring of additional doctors urged the government to do “everything humanly possible to ensure that we are able to retain our doctors and nurses…and to congratulate them for seeing it through this stage of the journey and to keep them in Grenada.”
Grenada lost dozens of nurses and other healthcare workers over the years to regional and international recruiters offering better salaries and benefits.
The ruling Congress administration of Prime Minister Dickon Mitchell began paying a monthly EC$500 honorarium to nurses in January, as a means to deter a mass exodus of nurses, as it works towards a long-term solution.
A sum of EC$4.2 million has been allocated for the initiative in this fiscal year.