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South doctors on go-slow

Trinidad Guardian, issue 1288, Tuesday 25 January 2000

Doctors at the Accident and Emergency Department of the San Fernando General Hospital have gone on work-to-rule following the collapse of a doctor over the weekend, due to exhaustion from working overtime.

As of yesterday, two doctors began working the morning shift, with one doctor in the afternoon and one at night.

The situation is expected to be chaotic, doctors said yesterday. The department will continue to work with skeleton staff, indefinitely, they added.

An emergency meeting yesterday, with Hospital CEO Trevor Hewitt, head of the department Dr Vinode Mooniram, Medical Chief of Staff Dr Austin Trinidade, Dr Robin Sinanan, Dr Raj Deonarine, financial comptroller Vade Mohammed and Hospital Manager Indra Maharaj, failed to arrive at a solution.

The doctors said their action stemmed from the South West Regional Authority's inability to pay doctors their overtime.

Doctors said for the past three months they have been working overtime with no pay. One doctor has chalked up as many as 800 hours overtime, they said, adding that another doctor who worked non-stop over the weekend collapsed and had to be sent home. Yesterday another doctor was given two hours off to go home and come back for the night shift.