Slim chance for solution to medical pay dispute
- Published: 19/04/2013 at 11:49 AM
- Online news:
They're "losing their minds!" is the phrase used by former public health minister Mongkol na Songkhla to describe the dispute between the Ministry of Public Health and the Rural Doctors Society (RDS) over the pay-for-performance (P4P) scheme.
He cautioned that the impact would be much worse if the party which lost its mind was the “phuyai”.
He suggested the Public Health Ministry should try to talk with the RDS to iron out their differences and work out a solution acceptable to both sides.
The former health minister said he personally had no objection to the P4P scheme, but noted that certain areas of the scheme are impractical and its implementation must take into account the locations of the hospitals and the type of work performed, among other things.
For instance, community service in health promotion - part of the job of rural doctors - cannot be evaluated in term of performance scores or points in the calculation of a performance payment.
Mongkol na Songkhla (File Photo)
Dr Mongkol hit the nail right on the head when he criticised the top administrators at the Public Health Ministry for their lack of understanding of the work that rural doctors do, and that the P4P scheme was introduced from top down without any input from rural doctors themselves.
As the situation stands now, it appears there is slim chance the two opposing parties will sit down together for talks, and will instead continue to talk separately and trade hostile rhetoric through the media.
As Dr Mongkol said, they are still “losing their minds” and I guess the good doctor’s words of wisdom will not be heeded.
The RDS has planned another protest at the ministry on Wednesday next week. Several civil society groups, including networks of Aids sufferers, have indicated that they may join the protest too.
Meanwhile, the Public Health Ministry remains adamant it will implement the revised pay scheme, claiming that it ensures fairness to all medical personnel and, at the same time, provides an incentive for them to work harder and better – which would benefit the patients.
With both sides stubbornly unyielding and reluctant to come to their senses I don’t see how the conflict can be resolved amicably. Not unless they are forced to the negotiating table by somebody who has the right prestige or influence, the baramee. And that somebody has yet to come forward.
Anyway, many thanks to Dr Mongkol for taking the trouble to try to bring the RDS and Public Health Ministry back to their senses. Now it is the turn of the two parties in the conflict to demonstrate that they can show mature common sense.
About the author
- Writer: Veera Prateepchaikul
Position: Former Editor