NEWS

MD shortage is left to fester

Almost a month before a six-month deadline to hire 2,000 more doctors for the National Health System is due to expire, the government has failed to employ a single extra person, it emerged yesterday. Sources said the committee that decides on the hirings is due to meet with Health Ministry officials tomorrow. When the panel convened a month ago, the ministry was unable to provide details of the hirings that need to be made. As part of its collective contract with state hospital doctors, the government had promised to complete the hirings – 1,500 specialists and 500 trainees – by June as a number of key departments at state hospitals such as intensive-care and cardiology units are desperately short of staff. The Federation of Hospital Doctors’ Unions (OENGE) said that 76 hospitals and the ambulance service have asked for almost 3,000 new doctors to be hired. It is expected that once all the hospitals and medical centers make their requirements known, this figure will reach 4,500.