Corporatization of JDWNRH to sustain the pool of specialists: MoH
Reputing the recent media reports and concerns raised by opposition, the Health Ministry says the government decision to change the status of National Referral Hospital into corporation is to sustain the pool of specialists.
However, Jigme Dorji Wangchuck National Referral Hospital (JDWNRH) will continue to function as an organization with a predominant social mandate under the management of an independent board. It is an alternative mechanism which was for review before considering actual implementation.
According to a press release issued on 1 September, the government’s move to make Jigme Dorji Wangchuck National Referral Hospital (JDWNRH) a corporation is to enhance the quality of services and improve financial benefits of the hospital workforce.
The initiative was aimed at bringing better accountability, efficiency and effectiveness in delivery of health services, which are the key elements of a robust health system.
The government expects to provide a platform for addressing the current issue of Specialist retention and improve the overall quality of health services. It states that, “The government is aware that corporatization involves exposure to market pressures and forces.”
The principle of the health system in Bhutan is based on the provision of Article 9 (21) of the Constitution, which man- dates the state to provide free access to basic public health services both in modern and traditional medicines.
The government claims that it stands fully guided by the sacred provisions enshrined in the Constitution with regard to fulfilling the mandates of the health sector, at all times. It states, “The government holds the constitution sacrosanct and ensures that all decisions respectfully comply with the sacred state polices and that the rule of law is always respected.”
JDWNRH will continue to provide free medical services to all citizens based on the principles of equity and fairness. It states that the he initiative doesn’t intend to pave way for privatization of the public health facilities and services. “It is not meant to encourage commercialization of the services or to levy charges to patients directly for the basic public health services.”
The government considers the wellbeing of the citizens and ensures those citizens are not deprived of availing free basic public health services. “No patients will have to bear the burden of needing to pay the cost for availing basic public health services.”
The government recognized that the existing measures are inadequate and does not provide flexibility to the management of the national referral hospital to innovate means to improve performance and address issues relating to human resources. “Given the changing landscape of health service delivery and emerging needs, it is imperative for the health system to adapt and proactively manage these transitions.”
The opposition recently in its press release claimed that corporatization is not the right approach to retain specialists nor is it right for the government to blame the Royal Civil Service Commission (RCSC) and the Pay Commission as being hindrances to enhancing the pay and allowances of the specialists. The Health Ministry says this should not be interpreted as inefficiencies on the part of the RCSC and the pay Commission.
Health Minister Tandin Wangchuk instructed the health secretary and the presidents of the national referral hospital and the Khesar Gyalpo University of Medical Sciences of Bhutan (KGUMS) to form a high-level committee to deliberate on the proposal to make the national referral hospital a corporation.