Nima Wangdi

While the departments and agencies under other ministries have been consolidated under the current transformation drive, national medical services has been separated from the ministry and is being made a new agency.

Lyonchhen Dr Lotay Tshering, during the launch of the health sector transformation at Jigme Dorji Wangchuck National Referral Hospital yesterday said that the clinical services have now been handed over to the clinicians.

Clinical services were initially under the department of medical services under the ministry.

The core mandate of National Medical Services is to provide a singular and renewed stewardship for clinical services management in the country.

The National Medical Services will henceforth be mandated to take charge of all clinical aspects of the country’s health system such as service delivery, streamlining patient referral pathways, human resource development and management, medical supplies procurement and distribution, and the procurement, and maintenance of medical equipment.

The number of departments under the ministry has been downsized to two, namely the Department of Health Services and the Department of Public Health.

According to the press release from the ministry, three regulatory bodies, Bhutan Agriculture and Food Regulatory Authority, Bhutan Narcotics Control Authority, and Drug Regulatory Authority are being consolidated into a single agency called Bhutan Food and Drug Authority.

The authority will be mandated to regulate medical products, food, and controlled substances in the country.

The Royal Centre for Disease Control will remain under the Ministry of Health to provide scientific and technical support to the MOH and other agencies.

The press release stated that the overall aim of health sector transformation is to consolidate clinical services in the country through integration, proper structures, clear responsibilities, and accountabilities; to create an agile and evidence-driven system that values and supports the health workers; to bring together, reorganise and guide the limited and scarce clinical resources and professionals under a common framework and management system; and streamline and strengthen coordination between the preventive, curative and regulatory aspects of healthcare.

The logo for the national medical services, designed by the health minister, was also inaugurated.

Sowa Lyonpo Dechen Wangmo said the ministry has three roles of policymaking, providing services, and authority “to make sure that they don’t conflict with each other, now we have segregated them.”