Nima Wangdi  

Two doctors of Jigme Dorji Wangchuck National Referral Hospital (JDWNRH) in Thimphu are on their way out of the national referral hospital, which is already under increasing pressure of human resources shortage.

The 12th human resource committee of the hospital met on February 25 and approved their resignation. The letters were forwarded to the health ministry on March 1. The doctors will exit today and on March 31 respectively according to the hospital’s letter to the ministry.

Of the two doctors, the female doctor is the only Rheumatologist in the hospital, and the other one is an Emergency Room physician and Chief Medical officer.

There is no information available if more doctors are applying for resignations.

JDWNRH’s Chief Human Resource Officer Tshering Dorji said he has no answers for “any kind of question and denied information”.

Going by available records, one doctor resigned last year while two superannuated.

The hospital had 136 doctors (general and specialists) and more than 500 nurses by the end of last year. Updated data could not be accessed from the hospital HR section.

However, Kuensel’s record shows 15 nurses resigned in January this year alone, while 374 nurses left their jobs between 2019 and 2022. With Bhutanese continuing to travel to Australia for various reasons, the hospital is expected to see more health professionals exit.

The news of more health workers leaving their profession has stirred concerns over the quality of health services that fall on the shoulders of the fewer staff left who could suffer from burnout.

A doctor said that losing two doctors, who are sub-specialists is a significant loss for the country. “This is because it takes a long time and so much investment in creating someone like that.”

He said the only Rheumatologist resigning means the patients looked after by these doctors on a regular basis will suffer. “They will have to be referred abroad.”

The only chest specialist in the country has also left the country.

He said that they can be replaced but it will take a long time. “This is because we don’t have retention strategies.”

Another expert said there is something wrong with the system and no one knows what to do. “We need someone who can find it out and then come up with the solutions. Fast.”