Minister backs new allowance rates for rural doctors, staff
The Public Health Ministry agreed yesterday to pay a new allowance rate to rural hospital doctors in two phases - and a decision will be made on April 1 next year about a third phase after assessment of the first two phases.The move followed a protest by 150 rural doctors, who dressed in black, at the ministry to objected to the new allowance rate being based on performance (p4p). The current fixed rate is based on remote areas where doctors serve.
The demonstrators claimed the policy, which also adjusted some rural hospi-|tals' status to be urban as neighbourhoods became more developed, would pro-|mpt doctors to quit and lead to staff shortages.
SUPPORT FROM MINISTRY
Public Health permanent secretary Narong Sahametha said the meeting |yesterday about medical staff payments, presided over by Health Minister |Pradit Sinthawanarong, approved in |principle the adjusted payment rate being paid in two phases, instead of three as originally slated.
The first phase, to start from April 1, would divide rural areas into four categories: the urban community area, the normal area, the specific area 1 and the specific area 2.
While doctors in the two latter categories would get the previous "remote area" allowance, the former two categories would get reduced allowances.
For example, doctors/dentists serving for 4-10 years in normal areas who |currently get paid a "rural" allowance of Bt12,000-20,000 might get a Bt5,000 |cut.
The ministry also would seek Bt910 million to fund the p4p allowance payments, to stimulate hospitals during the first phase, especially those with low financial liquidity, he said.
The second phase, to start from October 1, would see staff serving in urban community areas totally based on p4p (work performance).
Narong affirmed that money reduction from the previous rate payment wasn't "gone" - it would be paid to doctors in the form of p4p-based payment.