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Doctor shortage becoming more acute in some areas

Date Posted: 2010-04-01

Five more doctors tending to Okinawa’s children at central and northern hospitals are about to depart, creating a shortage of medical practitioners on the island.

Authorities say, “The reason is because medical situations have become very advanced and hospitals need more doctors, but there aren’t enough.” The acute shortage of pediatricians is attributed to complexities of advanced medicines, and doctors having to work very long hours.

One central Okinawa hospital doctor says “one time I worked more than 30 hours straight, not only with outpatients but with emergency room patients, too. I had to stay and tend to hospital patients, as well.”

Authorities say doctors have to spend about eight days each month at hospitals, looking in on patients overnight. The net result is that doctors have to spend more than 100 hours each month performing overtime work.


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