NCRHA implements rotation of doctors to prevent burnout

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Trinidad and Tobago: Medical Chief of Staff at the Couva Hospital, Dr Don Martin repeatedly requested of the Chief Executive Officer of the North Central Regional Health Authority, Davlin Thomas that a system of rotation be implemented so that doctors at the facility were given an opportunity to rest, having been working assiduously at the COVID-19 facility for over a year.

The request, which was made approximately two weeks ago, was followed by a meeting with Director of Health (NCRHA), Dr Malachy Ojuro where Dr Martin again expressively reiterated that doctors should be rotated and reintegrated into the parallel system to prevent burnout which he felt was rampant amongst the doctors at the Couva Hospital, especially with the increasing intake for positive COVID-19 cases.

Subsequent to this, another discussion was held with the CEO of the NCRHA, and the Executive Management team made the decision to facilitate the appeal to ensure that doctors at the facility were rotated to mitigate against the effects of fatigue on patient care.

According to Director of Health, Dr. Ojuro, rotation among doctor staff is a common practice at the North Central Regional Health Authority in all its other areas and this has become particularly important given the rising numbers and the increasing demands.

“The NCRHA is intentional about putting systems in place to avoid burnout, especially in high demand areas, so we have consistently monitored and maintained rotations, including psychiatrists and psychologists within the system who advise us regularly. This is not just for the benefit of our doctors. The benefits of ensuring our doctors are well rested also redound to the overall patient care experience and that is our major objective – ensuring that patients receive the best possible care,” Dr Ojuro stated.

Apart from protecting staff against burnout, rotation is also a mechanism for capacity building and medical staff development as the changes create empowering environments wherein doctors are able to share
knowledge and skills through the convergence of medical Dr Malachy Ojuro experience in different areas and bring renewed energy to Director of Heath (NCRHA) the fight against COVID-19.

“Everyone has to do it. It is not an advantage that we give to some people and not others. We have always ensured that systematically, on a routinely scheduled basis, every medical doctor is given that opportunity. I’ve already received messages from some doctors expressing their gratitude for this temporary reprieve that would have been facilitated through the rotation.” the NCRHA Director of Health added.

Chief Executive Officer, Davlin Thomas thanked the team for their continued diligence and sacrifice to the cause, stating that the NCRHA remains committed to not only protecting and ensuring the well-being of its patients, but also its doctors, nurses, technical and administrative staff as well.

“These are unprecedented challenging times for us all, but we are prepared and ready to do everything we can to protect the lives of every individual in this country…. patients, their families, their loved ones, members of the public and all members of staff. I wish to take this opportunity again to commend the staff at our COVID-19 facilities for their unwavering efforts. I know it has been a testing time, but we will
continue to rise to challenge. Our frontline healthcare workers are heroes.” CEO Thomas stated.

Clinical staff at the Arima General Hospital Thomas continued: “NCRHA is currently engaging the logistics and implementation works to commission and open a field hospital in Couva, while simultaneously engaging the vaccine roll out tomorrow of the Sinopharm vaccine. We have every reason to believe that everything will go as planned.”