Only senior doctors can be in private practice: Yockopua

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ONLY senior medical doctors can work for the Government and be involved in private practice after hours, a senior doctor says.
National Doctors Association (NDA) secretary Dr Sam Yockopua was responding to questions by The National about concerns raised by Chief Justice Sir Gibbs Salika regarding doctors employed by the State engaging in private practice with private health facilities during the ceremonial sitting of late Justice Jim Wala Tamate on Wednesday.
Dr Yockopua said under the existing NDA memorandum of agreement, there was a clause that gave the right for only senior specialist medical officers to practise what was referred to as limited right for private practice (LRPP). “The LRPP was usually reserved for very senior specialists only and that they do so during off days, after hours or public holidays,” he said.
“Sometimes on very special occasions, for example; a special surgery that needs urgent intervention by that specialist to benefit the patient.”
“It is done to provide options for the patients so that those who choose to have privacy in the private health facilities can have the respective specialists hired to go and provide the cover for a certain time frame only.
“If, for example: Pacific International Hospital or Paradise Private Hospital has an ear-nose-throat (ENT) case, and that the patient is able to afford fees or paid through insurance, however, chooses to have a private consultation, it is done at his or her convenience.
“This is a win-win situation for the patient, the private facility and the doctor.
“This also cuts down on the load to the public systems.”
Dr Yockopua said the issues with this LRPP included the potential for abuse and the lack of revision.