The controversy involving Dr Denise Tsoi-a-Fatt highlights the vagaries of the system of remuneration for us. All consultants in T&T (save Dr Tsoi-a-Fatt) attract a salary of around $34,000 per month (take home of $27,000) throughout their career and that includes "overtime" and "being on call''.
Specialist qualifications relative to fields for which consultants are limited e.g. surgery, cardiology, neurosurgery or neurology attract no increase. Management qualifications afford us administrative positions in the health service—up to $40,000. Nowhere in the RHA is a medical practitioner paid on external market rate criteria. Consultant positions are also limited and not all specialist practitioners are afforded that position.
Dr Tsoi-a Fatt explains that her "negotiated" salary of $60,000 as senior adviser to the secretary of health and services in 2009 was based on her being as "a qualified doctor, a specialist in my field together with the 20 (?) years experience under my belt…in alignment with my (Tobago) colleagues''.
What Dr Tsoi-a Fatt failed to state in public is that her field of practice (Family Practice) places her in a position of Family Care Physician II with a salary range of $19,000-$25,000. Doctors in Tobago get an additional 15 per cent to 25 per cent of their salary—that does not take them in the range of $60,000!
I would therefore like to know the career path of Dr Tsoi-a-Fatt so that we may collectively emulate her progression to assured prosperity in the medical field.
Dr Calvin H Ribiero