Saturday 24 October, 2020

Deyalsingh: House doctors who refuse jobs will have to repay GATE

Photo: Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh

Photo: Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh

Local doctors who refuse the jobs offered to them will be made to repay their GATE (Government Assistance for Tuition Expenses) funding, said Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh. 

Speaking at Thursday's post-Cabinet media briefing, Deyalsingh said some house doctors refuse job placement offers because of the job's remote location or for various other reasons.

However, he said Cabinet has decided that house doctors who refuse to take up job offers will now be asked to repay their GATE funding.

“I was directed that house officers will be offered employment in the public system and where they choose not to take up those offers they will be forced to pay their GATE loans.”

“All officers who refuse the opportunity to work, we will now call in those loans. That is a directive that I have been given which I will faithfully implement,” he said.

Deyalsingh said this is line with the GATE agreement which all students would have signed.

“When you access taxpayers’ money to study free of charge, part of that agreement was to serve the taxpayers of Trinidad and Tobago,” he said.

The move comes after statements issued by Opposition MP Dr Tim Gopeesingh and others that doctors and nurses were out of work due to what he claimed was political interference.

In addition, Deyalsingh said that doctors from Cuba would be hired to fill vacancies that could not be filled locally.

In a press briefing on Wednesday, he said that there were over 250 vacancies for 11 specialist positions that could not be filled locally, and said he would be heading to Cuba within the next few months in order to try to fill those positions.

Deyalsingh said that many doctors sought employment at larger hospitals like the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Centre, San Fernando General Hospital or the Port of Spain General Hospital instead of rural communities. 

Some of the specialist positions include paediatricians, gastroenterologists, cardiologists, haematologists, nephrologists, specialists in internal medicine, orthopaedic surgeons, paediatric cardiologists, maxillofacial surgeons, ophthalmologists and specialists in Accident and Emergency.


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