“We need to drop rigidity and embrace flexibility. There are specialists in private hospitals, these can be given practical exams to gauge their competence”
Dr. Jane Ruth Aceng, the minister of Health, has made a case for “rigidity” in the recruitment of specialists and other top cadres in the health sector to be dropped in order to help attract missing key personnel in government hospitals.
Aceng together with state minister in charge of primary health care, Dr. Joyce Moriku and that of general duties, Robinah Nabanja were earlier today at Parliament to explain the irony of the ministry of health failing to utilize sh15b in wage budget yet it's understaffed.
To explain the irony to lawmakers sitting on the health committee, minister of public service, chairman Health Service Commission (HSC), Prof. Pius Okong and top echelon of the ministry of health were also in attendance.
“We need to drop rigidity and embrace flexibility. There are specialists in private hospitals, these can be given practical exams to gauge their competence instead of insisting on one rising through the ranks and experience,” Aceng said.
Currently, the recruitment process by HSC can take up nine months. Data presented before the committee by HSC indicates that the government is finding it hard to attract and retain top cadre medical personnel – especially in regional referral hospitals.
Between 2015/16 and 2018/19, according to Okong, efforts by HSC to recruit 49 senior consultants and consultants in referral hospitals came to naught despite running advertisements.
One hospital that is affected by this problem is Lira Regional Referral Hospital whose only specialist also doubles as its director. For a long time, HSC has struggled to recruit specialists, even after salary enhancement.
Early this year, the government moved to stem the loss of consultants and specialists to university medical schools by making it explicit that top tier doctors at university and government hospitals earn the same pay.