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Director of Health at the NCRHA, Dr Malachy Ojuro.

The North Central Regional Health Authority (NCHRA) has said it has implemented a rotation system for doctors at the Couva hospital to prevent burnout.

The Opposition United National Congress (UNC) had earlier claimed that the NCRHA was removing “generals” from the hospital at a time when they were needed the most, listing five doctors affected by the move.

A statement by the NCRHA said that the Medical Chief of Staff at the Couva Hospital, Dr Don Martin repeatedly requested of the Chief Executive Officer of the NCRHA, 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,” the statement said.

The statement said that 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.

Meanwhile, Thomas said the NCRHA is currently engaging the logistics and implementation works to commission and open the field hospital at the Couva hospital, while simultaneously engaging the vaccine rollout of the Sinopharm vaccine today.

“We have every reason to believe that everything will go as planned,” he said.