Unavailability of Medical Specialists during Year-end Holidays – 2012

December 21, 2012, a balikbayan classmate (anesthesiologist) of mine wrote to our physician-classmates (UPCM74):

“Just learned that my sister has gastrointestinal problems for which she would need upper endoscopy and colonoscopy.  Pls. let me know who you would refer your family member to.”

There were at least two names that were recommended.

Then, came the response of our balikbayan classmate:

“Thank you Willy S and Y,  Ron, & Jimmy for your response. Unfortunately , because of holidays no one is available. I will also search through other friends.

Thank you.”

A typical scenario during the year-end holidays – unavailability of most medical specialists during the last two weeks of the year.  Note: however, there are physicians manning the hospitals and the emergency rooms.

On my part, I have been trying my very best to be available for my patients for the past 30 years.  Of course, I observe the official government-declared holidays on December 25, 30, 31, and January 1 and therefore, have no clinic.  I usually hold clinic up to December 22 or 23 prior to Christmas day and another clinic or two, between December 25 and December 31.  Thus, this year, I have clinic on December 27 and December 29, 2012.  I will be back January 2, 2012 from a year-end retreat and hold clinic on January 3, 2013 (Thursday – my regular clinic day).

Thoughts, Perception, Opinions and Recommendations Related to Hospital Administration:

It will be a value-added service if a hospital makes a public announcement in the first or second week of December that during the year-end holidays there will be medical specialists available for consultations and for needed procedures to be done.  I will recommend publishing the names of the specialists who will hold clinic from December 22 to December 29, 2012 (excluding government-declared holidays).  The hospital has to ensure that there will be at least two specialists per medical specialty available during the period.

This value-added service, aside from being appreciated by the community, will also mitigate the traditional business slack during the year-end holidays.

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