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Leaving for a bigger cause?

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This is how the country’s only urologist sees his resignation  from civil service to join politics 

A letter from the Royal Civil Service Commission, he received on Wednesday morning, was what sent urologist Dr Lotay Tshering running around to mobilise about Nu 6.2M.

That was the amount he had to pay the government to leave the civil service for politics and for speaking to the media.

For as much as he was interested, following requests from his family, relatives and colleagues to stay back, Dr Lotay Tshering had reconsidered his decision to join politics.  The financial obligation of Nu 6.2M, he said was another factor that deterred him earlier from leaving the hospital.

Dr Lotay Tshering was reprimanded for his comments in the media because according to the commission, he had breached BCSR 2012, civil service Act and violated the Constitution by doing so. The letter also said he was liable for termination should he continue talking to the media.

“That was the bombshell on my head,” he said, adding the whole day he was doing endoscopy it was with a very heavy heart.

“But I couldn’t sleep; I cried because after 12 years of sincere hard work, and after having loved this profession for so long, I sincerely still feel that I don’t deserve that letter.”

Dr Lotay Tshering, who is now out of the civil service and Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa’s south Thimphu candidate, however, still stands by the comments he made in the media, of not having made any “obvious criticism to the government.”But he also believes that the former health minister did not do much in cleaning or fixing the procurement system in the health ministry and said that the fact that many doctors are still unhappy means something is still wrong with the system,

“Then at 1.30am, Thursday early morning, I got up, rewrote my resignation, to resign on moral grounds,” he said. “If I have broken so many rules and regulations and if I had violated the Constitution, then I don’t deserve to be in the civil service.”

When he decided to resign on moral grounds, he said the amount of money he had to pay the government didn’t bother him.

“When it was about my moral or principles, 62 or 64 lakhs, is peanuts, because two things that cannot be costed are my decisions to resign on moral ground, and of putting my citizenship above my profession,” he said.

So how did he manage to mobilise Nu 6.2M, an amount, which is almost equal to the fund the election commission would give to each party?

“You won’t believe how much I pleaded with people and how much I ran around requesting for loans,” he said, adding  his friends, family, relatives and few well-wishers pooled in, although a majority of the money came from his family members, who felt he should ‘get out”, after seeing the letter from RCSC.

“I mortgaged some of my sister’s properties, took a loan from my wife’s building, and got few hundred thousands from here and there,” Dr Lotay Tshering, who arranged the cash in about a week’s time, said. “As soon as I got Nu 6.2M, I drove straight to RCSC and handed over seven different cheques.”

While he would repay the Bank of Bhutan’s loan of Nu 2.5M in installments, he owes the rest to his family, relatives and friends, with whom no terms and conditions have been made.

Although Dr Lotay Tshering may not be the first doctor to leave for politics, he is perhaps the first to pay up his service obligation for politics.  Another doctor, who had also put in his resignation to join party politics, is public health department’s Dr Lobzang Dorji, but he also has to pay if he wishes to leave.  To date, he is still with the health ministry. Former health secretary, who resigned on moral grounds following ACC investigations, Dr Gado Tshering has also joined party politics.

In the last elections, three doctors, including those in administrative posts, had contested.  None of them made it to the house then but, when five specialists had put in their resignations to join politics, the health ministry had dissuaded them, just as it did with Dr Lotay Tshering.

“We don’t want them to resign, because the country currently faces an acute shortage of doctors in general and specialists in particular,” a health ministry official had said then.

Health ministry still gives the same reason today, whenever a doctor wishes to leave the system. No health official wanted to be named for fear of being reprimanded by the commission, but doctors expressed that Dr Lotay’s leaving would affect the hospital’s surgical services.

For instance, the transfer of a junior surgeon from Thimphu to Gelephu would now be held back, while the surgeries that Dr Lotay Tshering had scheduled until November would now be rescheduled and taken up by his colleagues.

There are almost 200 surgeries that Dr Lotay Tshering had scheduled and about 80 percent of them are gallstone problems that Dr Lotay Tshering performed after senior specialist Dr Sonam Dukpa superannuated. “While our surgeons may handle general cases, we might have to refer complicated cases,” a health official said. “It would definitely affect the services but what to do?”

Dr Lotay Tshering is aware that he is up against, what he calls a formidable candidate of a strong party and, despite paying up the service obligation, he said it wouldn’t matter if he lost the election.

“Medically, I feel there’s a small cancer cell growing in our five-year democratic child,” Dr Lotay Tshering said. “If I didn’t join now, the damage would be done, and that cancer cell would have grown too much that it would be too late.”

By Sonam Pelden

14 Comments to “Leaving for a bigger cause?”
  1. Jameson | May 9th, 2013 at 12:04:39

    Dr. Lotey, as I have heard has always been hard working, efficient and a patriotic person. I really appreciate his decision on joining the Politics and I am very much confident that he will serve people with same efficiency but is it the political party or the hospitals where the people need Dr. Lotey.
    I am quite skeptical and the people should also give second thought on this. People are laying in the stretchers and a trend of leaving profession, will it relieve the pain or add upon it?? There are people pointing faulty fingers blaming RCSC but they even fail to realize whatever RCSC is doing is for the general welfare of the people and the effect of it’s work is even felt by a remote citizen of Bhutan or else the whole civil service will be inefficient & go corrupt just like in and around our neighboring countries. I am not against Dr. Lotey neither I am keen on supporting RCSC but for a ordinary citizen this story is far painful than what Dr. Lotey pledges to serve……

  2. bitter | May 9th, 2013 at 10:23:21

    kpasuth.. i like ur last line..” Dr. are not slaves” truly said Dr. in Bhutan are really treated like slaves.. m not a medical Dr. though but i can see how they work and yet very little is done or paid to them by our Govt.. they are made to work like hell in the name of costly trainings given to them but i think they deserved thats why they got the training, i don think such opportunities are given to any random people.. they are the cream of country..
    i am with u Dr. Lotay.. ALL THE BEST..

  3. RinchenT | May 9th, 2013 at 02:46:55

    Health systems in Bhutan really need to change. The change not only includes in Management, but the most important thing to change in health department is to change the mind-set of Doctors and health workers. Like Dr.Lotay said, yes I also feel that there is a small cancer cell growing in our five-year democratic child. So if you want to see a positive change in our health department and to get rid of the cancer cell, please cooperate and vote for Dr. Lotay. He is very simple, hardworking, open and always dedicated to his service. I personally consider him as a true doctor and a true son of Bhutan. ‘Chase the best. Get the best.

    Do your best and God will do the rest.
    Our prayers are with you.
    From India.

  4. online | May 8th, 2013 at 23:04:59

    @ Baykhara, What do you mean by ‘betrayed the country?” You mean to say that all people who participated in politic so far have betrayed the country? Is it only Dr Lotey was provided with and availed opportunities? You know the reason why you could not avail the opportunity like Dr. lotey (please reflect). Deducing from this report, I would rather say that RCSC betrayed Dr. Lotey and the patients who need his services. @ tenten If you see Dr lotey as ‘non-wise man” I would say ‘most’ is a weak superlative to describe your ignorance. For RCSC, it is not definitely a good way to deal or solve issues related to civil servant. Your small irrational, emotional, inconsiderate decision will have adverse ramification on the innocent public you exist to serve. SO THINK AT LEAST 1.1 TIMES BEFORE YOU ACT!

  5. Dalim Koti | May 8th, 2013 at 23:04:17

    This is the problem with our civil service system, rules and regulations. How do you motivate professionals to retain in their professions and pursue their career. The traditional “stick approach” will not work now. We are not in the feudal period.

    Very sad that a professional like Dr Lotey, who was claimed as one of the best doctors in the country is leaving his profession. Implications: the junior surgeon might not be efficient and many lives will be lost just like that during the trial process. RCSC must weigh the options carefully while making decisions of this level. Higher authority must also review the actions of the RCSC.

    This is really a bad decision on the part of the authorities taking into account the lives of the people. What are the alternative options? The Secretary of the MOH must take up the matter with the highest authority of the land, if possible?

    And, what are the ADVISORS of INTERIM GOVERNMENT DOING? VERY VERY SAD SOTORIES FOR THE PUBLIC WHO ARE IN LINE FOR THE OPERATIONS

  6. kpasuth | May 8th, 2013 at 22:08:07

    If MOH is running by NUTS as a previous comment… it is time to throw away these rotten nuts.. They are not useful anymore… Also, it is time for Bhutan to strengthen democracy and choose better seeds that would blossom in the parliament !!

  7. roket | May 8th, 2013 at 21:58:40

    Dr. Lotey you resigning to join politics and the statement you made while resigning that you told that you are joining politics not to make DPT strong but to make DEMOCRACY strong in Bhutan made me feel that your intention is pure……… otherwise you would have easily joined DPT. So don’t regret the decision you have taken when the intention is pure no matter what other says (Criticize or praise) you should go on……… ALL THE BEST Dr. Lotey, may you and your party win the election…. hope there will be some positive reforms and Dr. like you wont have to resign any more……..

  8. phew | May 8th, 2013 at 21:50:56

    Every citizen is fed by gov. Not only dr….. And when citizen, rcsc, , moh run by nuts don’t bother dr. ll move as a democratic citizen to a greener path however obstacle be and remaining ll just imitate the work for nothing but try to rumble the institute.

    Gud luck dr. Lotay we are always behind you. It’s gud you have shown them ( people who down and compete with medical profession with same rites) a taste of bitterness and how valuable are medical profession.

  9. kpasuth | May 8th, 2013 at 21:47:18

    It is difficult to go through this news and see how disappointed Dr Lotay was with the lousy management of RCSC..What RCSC has done is really a mistake. As we can guess that with such unfair management, surely Dr Lotay is not the last Bhutanese doctor who resigned. As he said, with a moral ground, the amount of money although is large, can never stop him.

    They might think it would still keep Dr Lotay in, but instead, such way, would pressure him to leave his beloved profession.

    The comments from whoever do not know even him and do not know how much he has devoted his private life and time for his poor patients would NOT worth to read. How can you criticize a doctor who never stop working even on his holidays that ” He has betrayed this country” ????

    I think he has served too much of his long years which is more than enough for the money Bhutan has invested on him. What’s a shame !!

    Whether Dr Lotay wins or loses would not matter , because he already win so many people’s hearts..
    I think it is time for Bhutan government to be highly concerned on what you have done to your health care people… still long way to go.

    Good luck.. !!

    P.S. Doctors are not slave !!!

  10. dorji005 | May 8th, 2013 at 17:34:56

    Baykhara, I think Dr. lotey served with what he had learnt from his training not like you and me who avails training for fun and to just visit. I don’t think any body who joined politics did not visited ex-country on expanses of government. and for me lotey is one of them.

  11. tenten | May 8th, 2013 at 16:16:38

    Mentally, his egoist and disloyal can merely treat the cell cancer developed in the democratic system. This is what you are contaminated by politics. Bad luck to Lotay. The moment of truth will slowly unfold which will be the result of being discontented, the hall mark of non- wise man. All the Bad of Luck! Lotay!

  12. pity07 | May 8th, 2013 at 15:35:34

    All the best Dr. Loday…my wishes and prayers are alys for you and your party. You have made good chooice….Please bring the changes in our country

  13. dorji005 | May 8th, 2013 at 14:01:39

    Good luck Dr. Lotey and if you are elected as MP, please continue with your specilisation, for instance like sunday camp, dont let poor people die of some small medical complications who cannot afford to go abroad for surgery

    though many people who have apointment with you are suffering, my prayers are with you

  14. Baykhara | May 8th, 2013 at 13:38:08

    “Medically, I feel there’s a small cancer cell growing in our five-year democratic child” said by Dr. Lotey Tshering, indicate that he was in a wrong profession. Further he has betrayed this country and its people, after availing opportunity undergoing course of studies and suppose to save lives of Bhutanese. This country invested in him and his studies, gave him a job and the status after the courses of study was completed and now he decides to join politic because he sees better opportunity in politic. He has created a much bigger cancer to the country by not working in the position where his services is required most.
    The RCSC has to come up with policy strategy such people will not be able to leave their job after having invested so much on them. Please RCSC, you need to create better career path too.

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