When Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina served warning on doctors and nurses about their responsibilities to the nation, she was speaking for all of us. She asked them to do their work with diligence or leave their positions. It is unacceptable that doctors and nurses employed at government hospitals should be absent or wanting in carrying out their responsibilities. It is their professional as well as moral duty to look to the patients who throughout Bangladesh make their way to the government hospitals in expectation of good and proper treatment. That they do not find their doctors or even their nurses or are treated in shabby manner is a shame for the nation.
The Prime Minister's warning comes against the background of recent reports by the Anti-Corruption Commission on the staggeringly large number of doctors at government hospitals found lacking in doing their work. It is a sign of grave indiscipline that such doctors find nothing wrong or immoral about focusing on their private practices when they are supposed to be present in the hospitals to which they have been posted. Now that the Prime Minister has made her views known on the issue, we will expect things to improve in the government hospitals. No more excuses or pretexts should be there for these medical personnel to enable them to go on doing what they have been doing so long, that is, doing everything except looking to the welfare of the ailing people they have been asked to serve.
Additionally, the Prime Minister's point about the duties of nurses is welcome. The government's decision to upgrade nurses to class two status in government service is no reason for them to suppose that their new status removes them from their root responsibility of serving patients. It is only proper that nurses, now that they now enjoy a new perch in the service hierarchy, dedicate themselves to the task of caring for the helpless and the ailing who flock to the government hospitals every day. It is absolutely illogical for nurses to expect that the work they are supposed to do should now be done by others.
Much has been written about doctors in the past, of course. And surely we realize that they too have their own problems, especially when irate patients sometimes pounce on them for reasons that can be handled better. That is why we also believe that the promise of closed circuit cameras the Prime Minister has suggested for government hospitals should be taken up in earnest by the authorities.
Medical services in government hospitals must be streamlined to respond to popular expectations. Let no one forget that the State is above everything, that doctors and everyone else must remain ready to serve it.
By Editor-in-Chief -Enayetullah Khan
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