RCSC: In a move to attract, retain and motivate medical doctors in the profession, the Royal Civil Service Commission recently reformed their career path with an amendment of four sections of the Bhutan Civil Service Rules 2012.

The commission’s November 26 notification states that with the amendment of section 7.12.16, doctors with masters degree shall be appointed in position level P3 provided they meet all the specified criteria such as, seniority lost, masters in clinical, prior approval of study by health ministry and masters degree of 3 years and above.

With the amendment of section, training period up to 18 months for any single training will now be counted as part of active service for the purpose of promotion. However, for some senior doctors, the entire duration of the course will be considered as active service for promotion, provided the course duration is more than two years, the notification states.

Doctors will now also be eligible for first promotion after four years of service, including their one-year probation period. The reform came into effect since July 2015.

Meritorious promotions will be granted to senior doctors, who have lost seniority but have outstanding performance evaluation ratings and clean service records. However, the amendment is not applicable for doctors appointed in P3 and P2 level and doctors in P1, ES3 and ES2 level.

“The changes will address the problems of seniority lost due to long duration of study in this fields,” the notification stated.

The health ministry has for long confronted the challenge of retaining senior doctors, who have been leaving for better opportunities outside the civil service.

Records with health ministry show that in the last nine years, 24 doctors either superannuated or left for better opportunities. About five among them left to contest in politics.  Between 2008 and 2014 alone, 17 doctors resigned under exceptional circumstances.

Currently, there are 241 doctors (MBBS/Specialists) in the country, according to the Annual Health Bulletin 2015. However, as per the health ministry’s human resource projection based on service standards, the health sector is short of 379 general doctors, 147 specialists and 18 super specialists.

Reforming the doctors’ career path is part of the overall civil service reform under the Organizational Development Exercise.

Doctors’ career path is reviewed to explore ways to make up for the seniority lost due to long duration of study (MBBS/BDS and Masters), to motivate the existing doctors to perform better and overall, to make the medical profession more attractive as this will be a profession whose demand will grow with the ageing of the population.

Nirmala Pokhrel