Minister confident ENT surgeon will be identified
Health agencies are working to ensure that a specialist ear, nose and throat surgeon is brought to the island as soon as possible, according to the Government.
Kim Wilson, the Minister of Health, spoke out after doctors last month expressed alarm that the island had been without an ENT surgeon since March.
Yesterday, Ms Wilson acknowledged that the situation was not “ideal”.
But she said she was confident that the private sector will be able to “successfully fill this gap, as they have done for other areas of private healthcare in Bermuda”.
Ms Wilson said: “We collaborate with our healthcare partners to ensure that patient care is not being compromised.
“The Bermuda Health Council is working with the statutory bodies on healthcare workforce planning. This includes ensuring we have the suitable types of health professionals on the island to meet our patient needs as appropriate.
“And if we cannot provide it on the island, we have the right partners in other countries to fill gaps. To be able to make the best health policy decisions, we have to continue to collect accurate population health data.”
Ms Wilson stressed that it was not the responsibility of the Ministry of Health.
She said: “For clarity, the Ministry of Health hires private doctors to fulfil a public health mandate — our government clinics — and not on a fee-for-service basis for private practice.
“Private sector physicians employ various specialists depending on the needs of their practice. This includes ENTs, pulmonologists, urologists, vascular cardiology, rheumatologists and dermatologists.”
She added that medical professionals were being “encouraged” to hire an ENT physician for their practices.
Ms Wilson said the Bermuda Health Council was working on healthcare planning to identify shortages.
She said: “With that information, we can do more to strategically plan for our workforce. Part of the data that the Health Council is collecting assists with that workforce planning.
A spokeswoman for the Bermuda Health Council added: “To be able to make the best health policy decisions, we have to continue to collect accurate population health data. This helps us to know what conditions are challenging our communities and exactly the types of services that are needed in the short and long term. Then with that information, we can do more to strategise our workforce.
“Strategic workforce planning means that we have to keep our data up to date on who is on island and what specific services they provide; and also know what types of health professions our students are in school pursuing.
“By having real-time and accurate data, we can work with immigration and internal professional development to reduce the types of gaps we sometimes are faced with.”