While members of the Parliament are busy mud slinging each other, we, the population, still have to use the public services everyday, of which improvements have been promised for ages but without apparent success. Electoral reforms are indeed needed as well but since now the Cabinet has all the number required, members therein should perhaps stop thinking about themselves and start thinking about the responsibilities that have been bestowed upon them. We always have a tendency to think that more and new is the solution to everything. We think a new system; new ways to govern us is the solution. We never focus on the fact that maybe instead of having more of the same bad thing, we should rather improve whatever we have in place. Let’s take the health care system for instance. 
The state and reliability of the government hospitals are often subject to much debate around the country. Some people will say that they get an ok treatment in hospitals, while others complain bitterly not only about the lack of personal touch but also the lack of urgency given to their cases. It is not always fair to blame the personnel for what goes wrong in the hospitals. At the core, there is a major problem that makes the personnel victims as well. 
With the Nurses’ Association coming out last week and denouncing the ‘situation chaotique’, it is no wonder allied health care professionals find themselves at the end of their tether when faced with hordes of patients demanding their attention. Perhaps the most alarming statistic was that there was only one male nurse per ward on night duty, the excuse given by the government that they have to take austerity measures. The plan of having a geriatric and women’s hospital was a great step forward. It would have alleviated the pressure on the existing hospitals, whereby there would have been less patients to be dealt with, thus not only giving the personnel breathing space but would have also improved their efficiency. Moreover, there wouldn’t be the need to put patients in gurneys on corridors since relevant patients would have been filtered to the appropriate specialized hospitals. At the same time, the specialized hospitals would have been able to cater for particular needs, thus making people going there more confident about the treatment that would be given to them. 
The problem does not stop with a lack of personnel. People having worked in the system complain about the lack of communication on all fronts: between doctors and nurses, nurses and patients, directors of hospitals and doctors. Doctors in A&E are asked to ‘clear the crowds’ in the casualty rooms, which leave the doctors no choice but to see a patient for only a couple of minutes. Should a doctor, in all good conscience give a good 45 minutes, as is the norm for a good consultation, people start grumbling and groaning whether ‘dokter la pe dormi’. Such a short period of time with the doctor also means that the patient’s confidence in the doctor wavers. 
The shift system in place for doctors sees them covering several wards and the A&E at the same time. Not only is the doctor overworked but is also not able to have the proper bedside manner with patients. Junior doctors also complain about the fact that comes night, their superiors go home. Should a specialist be needed in case of an emergency, the patient has to wait for over 45 minutes for the specialist to come as sometimes the junior doctor present does not have the required training to cope with the emergency. There has been an effort to computerize the records department of public hospitals. However, as a recent report has revealed, the equipment and software are not up to date and cannot be used. Moreover, people working in the records department are not trained in order to carry out the new method of working, which means that a well-meant step forward actually means a step backwards, not forgetting the millions of tax payers’ money gone to waste.
To say that a major overhaul is needed in the health department would be an understatement. People working in the system are unanimous in saying that a change in mentality is needed not only from the personnel but also from the population, who should not assume that just because healthcare is free in public hospitals, they are allowed to do as they please. If the government is keen on luring back Mauritian doctors trained abroad to improve the health system, it should begin by raising its standards so that well-meaning doctors willing to give back to their country are able to do so.  Or maybe it’s foolish to think that given the fact that the Medical Council is dragging its feet to register a good number of junior doctors and specialists waiting to get registered.