Minister admits Pathologist shortage at public hospitals

Norton (clean)public Health Minister, Dr George Norton has admitted that there is indeed a shortage of pathologists in the public health sector in Guyana.

During an interview with Guyana Times, Dr Norton confirmed that the health sector is in dire need of Pathologists as it is running low on these professionals.

According to the Minister, the scarcity of such professionals is solely based on the lack of formal post graduate programmes where these persons can be trained in the mentioned field of work.

Dr Norton said that a number of persons within the medical field have shown their interest in taking up pathology as a permanent occupation but this is usually not accomplished since Guyana lacks the adequacies that are required for training in the sector.

In this case, he cited, it is not a case of there being a limited number of persons who want to take up pathology but rather the inefficient resources to undertake training in the area of work.

Since the post graduate programme is not offered in Guyana, the Minister said medical personnel in the field are required to undergo training overseas, which has a hefty cost attached to it. The finances that are attached to this programme training; however, are not subsidised by the Government.

“These overseas training are generally sponsored by companies and private organisations since post graduate programmes in pathology are not offered in Guyana,” he informed.

With the conditions surrounding the field of medical work as it relates to financing and moving overseas to facilitate training, Dr Norton highlighted that the shortage situation is high on the agenda of the Public Health Ministry. He added that much thought is being given to how these specialist doctors’ can be trained in Guyana by means of a post graduate programme which would significantly increase the number of pathologists available in Guyana.

He disclosed that a number of countries including Cuba, Mexico, Brazil and China have offered to facilitate the students to undergo training, and the Ministry is currently contemplating the proposal.

Under the previous Administration, the shortage of these specialists had persisted and the Ministry then had declared an emergency state of the pathology sector.

However, during that time, the indicated cause had been a deficient of individuals who were passionate about taking up the career option.

The Ministry had noted this while urging persons to indicate their interest in pathology after which the Government would work to make scholarships available for them so they can be a part of the post graduate training programme.

Younger persons were specifically targeted since in that time, there were two pathologists who were both above the age of retirement.