Saturday, February 13, 2010

On Call Allowances for Doctors in Brunei

Doctors can now start claiming for on-call allowances and this is can be backdated to March 2009. That's the current update on on-call allowances for doctors working in Brunei. The delay was mainly due to allocation of the budget, and talks about how to distribute them correctly.. unfortunately not all doctors qualify for oncall allowances.

Currently these allowances are given to:-
  1. Doctors working in the 4 Government hospitals
  2. Doctors working on Full-24 hr Shift System
  3. Medical Officers, Senior Medical Officers & Specialist
The different type of On-Call Allowances are:-
  1. Resident On call
  2. Non-Resident On call
  3. Specialist On call
Resident On-Call (RC)
Doctors who work 24-hour shift who resides in the hospital e.g. Medics, Surgeons, Paeds, ICU, Anaesthetist. These are usually doctors who are 1st line to receive referrals and attend to emergencies. The amount varies according to your level e.g. M.O. or SMO. and are calculated by a pre-determined rate. (I think it's around $11/hour for MOs). Total amount are calculated from 4.30pm till your shift ends i.e. 7.45am the next day only. Therefore for weekdays oncall an MO can claim around $11x15=$165, and for weekends & Public Holidays it will be $11x24 = $264.

Non-Resident On Call (NRC)
Doctors who are suppose to be on-call for the 24-hour shift but does not reside in the hospital. These are usually the 2nd line doctors (if it's a 3 tier oncall MO-SMO-Specialist) or 1st line doctors of certain specialty that are usually on-call from home e.g. Psychiatrist, OMF, Dentist, Opthalmology. The doctors are required to note down the time they attend patients, the identity of the patients in a logbook which will need to be verified by a nurse. (This part being signed by a nurse have been met with certain opposition by the relevant doctors and a move towards the logbook being countersigned by consultant on-call have been proposed.)

The rates of claim are the same as above and can only be claimed 'outside office hours'. I.e. if you attend a patient during office hours 745am to 4.30pm, it cannot be logged in your on-call claim. Qns: What if you get called at 2am for advice? Ans: It does not count as NRC either. So for ALL NRC doctors, start logging in your on-call referrals.

Consultant On-Call
As far I know, All Specialist/Consultants with a permenant/contract post with salary scale of M18 and above will receive a fixed amount of on-call every month of $1,250 bnd. This is regardless of their specialties and will be automatically credited into their salary every month.

Comments from doctors:

There are a couple of issues that have been raised from the current scheme:
  1. The NRC are not getting a fair deal because we know that when there is a 3-tier oncall, the 2nd On-call ie. SMOs also carry a big responsibility in ensuring the MOs are covered by someone senior if the juniors find themselves out of depth. The amount of oncall allowances they logged in a month using the above method does not reflect the level of responsibility and the intensity of work undertaken by the NRCs. Perhaps this needs to be revised in the future and a flat rate for the NRCs would be better sense.
  2. Consultants have a flat rate, but certain specialties have far busier take than others e.g. Anaesthetist vs Psychiatrist. Should consultants have varying flat rates according to the level of activities in their specialties? Maybe we should group the consultants according to the level of intensity of their oncalls and pay them accordingly.
  3. Emergency Medicine, the busiest department in the hospitals are not given On-Call Allowances. Although they work on shift system, but we all know when they work for 8 hours, they really work hard all the way through. Again perhaps we can come up with a flat-rate as well for these doctors.
These are only some of the comments that we have encountered after talking with some of the doctors involved. However overall most of the doctors have welcome this move positively and we look forward towards the continuity and improvisations of it's implementation.

Doctors Mess would like to thank those who have been quite instrumental in pushing forward this proposal and finally getting it approved.. senior doctors, administrators at MoH, JPA & SPA! We look forward for our New Scheme of Service (Payscale) to be approved as well :)

Share your opinion...?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Ah, This is awesome! Dispells
a few contradictions I've been hearing.