'Overwhelmed' state cardiologist quits

13 July 2020 | Health

OGONE TLHAGE

WINDHOEK



Cardiologist Dr Simon Beshir has opened up about his departure from the public health sector, saying he was overwhelmed and overworked.

Beshir said the straw that broke the camel's back was when a preventable incident almost cost the life of a patient on the operating table.

“After a near-miss incident at the state cardiac unit, caused by a preventable technical failure, I decide to stop working there,” he said.

He said as treasury's fiscal consolidation measures started to take effect in 2017, the unit started running into problems.



Problems with supplies

“In 2017 we started to have problems with supplies and we had to reduce the amount of work.”





“In a private hospital, you only pay for the consumables once they are consumed, but with the state, you have to buy medical supplies and pay for it in advance,” he explained.

He said currently, no cardiac procedures are taking place to attend to state patients.

“Until 2017, we had one of the busiest units in Africa. It was a successful, we were doing 1 000 procedures a year approximately.

“[Now] there are no state procedures happening at state hospitals. Patients are not being attended to by specialists,” he said.



'I did not leave the patients'

When he left the state, Beshir suggested a private-public partnership arrangement with a private hospital.

Under this arrangement, the hospital would only be paid for the medical supplies used.

However, he would continue seeing state patients for free at an outpatient clinic.

This, however, was not accepted, he said.

“I did not leave the patients, I left but I had a plan… I tried,” he said.



No help from private sector

He added that cardiologists in the private sector are not doing anything to lighten the state's burdens.

“Most of the specialists coming to Namibia from South Africa only work in private hospitals and their role in state medical care is minimal or none,” he said.

Beshir admitted that while there was a paediatric cardiologist and general practitioners, there isn't a specialist doctor to assist state cardiology patients.

Calls to health ministry executive director Ben Nangombe went unanswered.



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