The COVID-19 pandemic is not only impacting the general population, and driving fear into the elderly, it has affected the profession most needed at this time.
And over the past 12 months, the medical profession has lost several of its members who have chosen to retire early.
There is no official retirement age for medical doctors in private practice but President of the Barbados Association of Medical Practitioners (BAMP) Dr Lynda Williams, confirmed an undisclosed number of older doctors have decided to call it a day, rather than risk exposure to COVID-19.
Among those who have retired early citing COVID-19 is a popular family physician and former Independent Senator Dr Carol Jacobs.
Jacobs, a strong advocate for universal treatment and the rights of those infected with HIV, she served on BAMP’s AIDS Task Force for several years, chaired the Barbados National AIDS Committee, based in Ministry of Health, and headed the Barbados National HIV/AIDS Commission set up in the Prime Minister’s Office, which led a multi-sectoral response to HIV/AIDS between 2000 and 2008.
The family physician turned over her practice last June to a younger practitioner, informing her patients that she fell took the decision to entire retirement due to the COVID-19 situation.
The BAMP president explained: “There was a big impact among the older doctors. Many of them made the decision to retire and transferred their patients to other doctors.” She expressed concern about the sudden loss of such high-level institutional knowledge and experience from the profession.
She added: “Many of these doctors left and what that did was take away a lot of the advanced knowledge in the country at one time. We must now see how we can build back our medical community.
“The other factor is that we have a number of doctors who have NCDs.”
The BAMP president said it was important that the fraternity seeks to fill the gaps created by the pandemic’s forced retirement of several older doctors