Monday, August 06, 2007

Why Stop Me? I'm Leaving As Someone Else

No, this is not one of those espionage flicks where the spy has a handful of different passports to freely travel around the world and save the unsuspecting majority from evildoers time and again.

Prudence and Madness blogged about an Inquirer article reporting on the provision of Republic Act 8042 that can potentially prevent doctors from leaving the country.
SEC. 5. TERMINATION OR BAN ON DEPLOYMENT - Notwithstanding the provisions of Section 4 hereof, the government, in pursuit of the national interest or when public welfare so requires, may, at any time, terminate or impose a ban on the deployment of migrant workers.
Everyone agrees that a ban on doctors leaving the country would be a violation of human rights, a stop-gap measure, and would discourage the many who would want to serve the people by superhuman sacrifice.

But, Secretary Duque is shortsighted to say the least. Would he risk stopping doctors from leaving? Especially if they are (re)trained as nurses? Time and again you hear a lot of government officials say that while there is a shortage of doctors, there is no acute shortage of nurses - in metropolitan areas, at least. New nurses are forming a beeline to the nearest government hospital, agreeing to forgo up to six months' worth of pay to obtain much-coveted experience. So, this argument can be defeated by a technicality: as more and more doctors are stowing away a "back-up" nursing degree, a planned ban on doctors leaving will be overpowered by the demand for nurses abroad outstripping the local supply.

With the increasingly oppressive environment for doctors, there is brewing sentiment for "escaping" to nicer climes. It's a pipe dream, but if I wake up one morning and discover that pay for doctors have been increased to reflect the increased responsibility they bear, why not? I may just wear that stethoscope over my neck again.

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