ABHA – Some private hospitals in the Kingdom care more about money than patient welfare. This is the only way one can explain their recruitment practices. Not only do they turn a blind eye to the experience and qualifications of the doctors they choose to employ but they actively prefer doctors who accept small salaries. These doctors invariably are fresh graduates who want to learn and gain experience – not seasoned professionals who would demand better packages.
Needless to say, the victims of the greed of the hospitals’ owners and these novice doctors are the poor patients. This also results in a large number of medical errors, which sometimes cause irreparable damage, a local daily reported Thursday.
Layla Muhammad, a female doctor working in a private hospital, said: “Working in a private hospital is very difficult because there is no job security. You may be fired at any time for no reason. Moreover, we have no right to ask for a salary raise. Those who dare to do so are asked to leave immediately. Dr M.S., another female doctor, said many of her colleagues quit because they work a lot and earn a measly income in return. This never happens in government hospitals where salaries are double those paid in the private sector.”
The number of doctors that come and go in private hospitals is also a big cause of concern for patients. Fatima Ibrahim said there is a great difference between a doctor who knows the history of your disease and the one who doesn’t have any background information. Sultan Hussien said: “We always notice that good doctors leave very quickly and the mediocre ones remain.”
Saeed Assiri points out that the owners of the private hospitals can’t fool the patients because they judge the healthcare being offered.
Abdullah Al-Themairi, Chairman of Abha Private Hospital, clarified their recruitment policy.
“We advertise on dailies or international newspapers for the doctors we need. When we receive their CV’s, I refer them to the recruitment committee in the hospital. After the committee sorts out the candidates according to their qualifications and experience, we send the shortlisted candidates a special credentials form. Following successful interviews, the committee then signs contracts with their preferred doctors.” Al-Themairi added that he had no idea why some hospitals would fire good doctors. He said doctors are like any other people who look after their own interests. If doctors find more benefits and better salaries in other hospitals, they quit immediately, he said. Dr Ibrahim Al-Hefzi, director general of Health Affairs in Assir, said that health affairs have nothing to do with the doctors’ salaries. He said the directorate only issues licenses and oversees patient welfare at a macro level. – SG