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Tuesday 18 September 2018
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Doctors shun working in rural areas

TEETH TALKS: Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh discusses dental health in the Senate on Tuesday in the Parliament tower. PHOTOS BY ANGELO MARCELLE

A motion to approve Dental Profession (Amendment to the Schedule) Order, 2017 was passed unopposed in the Senate on Tuesday night. In concluding the debate prior to the motion’s approval, Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh said there are problems with doctors and dentists, “who refuse to work in the rural areas” of this country. “You can’t get them to work outside a five mile radius,” Deyalsingh said. The motion was recently approved in the House of Representatives.

He referred to a case where a woman whose son is a doctor refused to let him at the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex in Mt Hope unless, “I give him a PBR (Priority Bus Route) pass.” Deyalsingh referred to another case where another woman whose son is a doctor was upset that he had to work at 1 am. He identified Point Fortin and Sangre Grande as two places in TT where some doctors are reluctant to work.

Quoting excerpts of letters written by TT students at the University of the West Indies (UWI) Mona Campus in Jamaica to him, Deyalsingh said there has been consultation on the issues contained in the order since December 2016. He said the Dental Council was aware of the purpose of this motion since last December. On the issue of quacks in dentistry, Deyalsingh said such individuals should be reported to the authorities.

He also said people needed to remember that this issue involved different campuses of the same university. Deyalsingh criticised the description by Opposition Senator Wade Mark of people from UWI campuses outside of TT as people who would be “coming through the cracks.” Saying the former People’s Partnership government abdicated TT’s responsibilities to Caricom over the last five years, Deyalsingh said the People’s National Movement, “is above that.”

He told senators, “We are for Caricom.

We are for integration.” Deyalsingh cautioned senators about how they describe the citizens of other Caricom member states. “These are our people. We are a Caribbean people.

These words have implications for our image in Caricom,” he stated. Deyalsingh added this issue should not be treated as, “a zero sum game.”

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